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LIBYA: Venezuela's Hugo Chavez says 'tragedy in Libya is just beginning'

August 24, 2011 |  1:55 pm

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez says Libya's crisis hasn't ended with the fall of Moammar Kadafi, a longtime ally.

After meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Caracas on Wednesday, Chavez condemned the United States and European countries for NATO's air strikes during Libya's conflict, saying, "they've destroyed a country.''

Sporting his "new look" -- a shaved head due to recent cancer treatments -- Chavez told the Associated Press he thinks "the tragedy in Libya is just beginning.''

"What the Yankee empire and the European powers ... want is Libya's oil," Chavez said. "They've destroyed a country and they continue destroying it. How many Libyan children have died?

"Now they're aiming against Syria," Chavez said, referring to another ally that has seen massive anti-government protests in recent months.

Chavez has been a staunch defender of Kadafi throughout the conflict and recently called the country's rebels a "group of terrorists.''

On Wednesday, Chavez said that the Venezuelan embassy in Tripoli was "assaulted and totally looted." He didn't give details or say whether anyone was injured at the embassy.

Search for Kadafi goes on as rebels seize compound

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, talks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency.