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Chavez: Bush 'devil'; U.S. 'on the way down'

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NEW: Venezuelan president says he wants to pursue nuclear technology
• Hugo Chavez tells the U.N. he can smell the stink of Bush, "the devil"
• U.S. says it won't address "comic-strip approach" to international affairs
• Venezuela is fourth-largest foreign supplier of oil to U.S.
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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez tore into his U.S. counterpart and his U.N. hosts Wednesday, likening President Bush to the devil and telling the General Assembly that its system is "worthless."

"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed the world body during its annual meeting Tuesday. "And it smells of sulfur still today."

Chavez accused Bush of having spoken "as if he owned the world" and said a psychiatrist could be called to analyze the statement. (Watch Hugo Chavez cross himself as he tells world leaders he can smell the devil -- 1:06)

"As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: 'The Devil's Recipe.' "

Chavez held up a book by Noam Chomsky on imperialism and said it encapsulated his arguments: "The American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its hegemonistic system of domination, and we cannot allow him to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated."

'No way to save' U.N.

Chavez also blasted the United Nations, calling the General Assembly "merely a deliberative organ" that meets once a year.

"We have no power, no power to make any impact on the terrible situation in the world," he said.

Chavez called the veto power shared by the five permanent members of the Security Council "anti-democratic," and cited the U.S. veto of a resolution that would have demanded the Israelis halt their bombing of Lebanon this summer.

That move "allowed the Israelis with impunity to destroy Lebanon in front of us all as we stood there watching," Chavez said. He recommended that the world body's headquarters be moved to another country and offered Venezuela as a possible new home.

He noted that he recently returned from a summit of more than 50 heads of state from nonaligned nations in Havana, Cuba, and urged his audience to support their efforts for "a world of peace."

At a news conference after the speech, he further lambasted the United States and U.N., saying of the latter, "There is no way to save it."

The U.N. was founded in an era of two superpowers, he said. "The Soviet Union collapsed. The United States empire is on the way down and it will be finished in the near future, for the good of all mankind."

He also said the U.S. government was the "first enemy" of its people.

"Their freedoms are restricted through the Patriot Act. They are sent to die in Iraq for no reason. The people of the United States are being deceived," he said.

Nuclear Venezuela?

The day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defiantly expressed to the General Assembly his country's determination to pursue nuclear technology, Chavez told reporters he, too, would like to explore nuclear energy.

All countries should dispose of their nuclear bombs, he said, but he would like to tap the technology for energy purposes because Venezuela's oil reserves are nonrenewable and finite. He ended the news conference by saying, "I have a meeting with the axis of evil somewhere around here, so I have to go."

Oil supplies loom large in any discussion of U.S.-Venezuela relations. Venezuela was the world's ninth-largest oil producer in 2004 and the fourth-largest supplier of oil to the United States, accounting for 11.2 percent of U.S. imports in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, dismissed the speech, saying, "I think that [Chavez's] rhetoric today shows exactly what kind of man he is."

Bolton said: "We're not going to address that sort of comic-strip approach to international affairs.

"The real issue here is he knows he can exercise freedom of speech on that podium and, as I say, he could exercise it in Central Park, too. He's not giving the same freedom to the people of Venezuela."

Chavez's tirades against Bush have become common. In May, he accused Bush of committing genocide and said the U.S. president should be imprisoned by an international criminal court. (Full story)

Chavez also alleged during the U.N. speech that the United States is planning, financing and setting in motion a coup to overthrow him. The U.S. has denied such accusations in the past.

As he was exiting the U.N. building in New York, Chavez told reporters that Bush is not a legitimate president because he "stole the elections."

"He is therefore a dictator," Chavez said. (Watch Chavez call Bush a dictator, express his love of America -- :57)

In an interview later with CNN en Espaņol, Chavez said he had good relations with President Clinton, but of Bush he said, "With this cowboy you can't even talk ... the Texan who walks around shooting from the hip."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, displaying a book by Noam Chomsky critical of U.S. foreign policy.

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