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Hugo Chavez won't recognize Libya rebels

Venezuelan president says West has violated international law

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Even after rebels breached Muammar Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — a friend and ally of Gaddafi's — said that his country only recognizes "one government" in Libya, "the one led by Muammar Gaddafi."

In a televised cabinet meeting, Chavez accused Western powers of violating international law by aiding the rebels, Reuters reports.

"This is kicking, spitting... on the most basic elements of international law," Chavez said. "Where are the international rights? This is like the caveman era."

Chavez accused Western powers of supporting the conflict in an effort to steal Libya's oil.

"Now [President Barack] Obama said he will collaborate economically with the new government, which of course we do not recognize," he said.

"It's harsh but true. ... They arranged this war," Chavez said of the United States. "They provided the arms, the mercenaries. They better not attempt to apply the Libyan formula to Venezuela or we'll have to show them our power."

According to the Associated Press, the Venezuelan leader did not say whether he'd heard from Gaddafi in recent days.

Fighting continued in Tripoli for a third day on Tuesday, and rebel fighters managed to overrun the gates of Gaddafi's compound in the Bab al-Aziziya neighborhood. The New York Times reports that video footage on Al Jazeera "showed fighters scrambling to upend one of Colonel Qaddafi’s favorite sculptures: a giant fist crushing an American warplane." By nightfall, it was not clear if rebels had complete control of the compound. Gaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown.

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Also on Tuesday, Gaddafi's son and heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, resurfaced in Tripoli, despite claims made by rebels on Monday that they had arrested him.

"We have broken the backbone of the rebels," he told the BBC at the Rixos Hotel, adding that the rebels had fallen into "a trap."

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

“They provided the arms, the mercenaries. They better not attempt to apply the Libyan formula to Venezuela or we’ll have to show them our power.”

— Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez about the United States

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