In a dramatic move in support of Bolivia, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez yesterday slashed diplomatic ties with the US, booting the American ambassador and calling home his envoy from Washington, reports Reuters. The socialist leader has also threatened to stop all oil shipments to the US—Venezuela’s largest customer—and plans to freeze relations with Washington until “there is a new government in the US that respects the people of Latin America.”
Chavez announced the ouste at a political rally, shouting, “Go to hell, s--- yankees! We are a dignified people. Go to hell 100 times." Bolivia, a close Venezuela ally, expelled its US ambassador the previous day on claims that the envoy was inciting political violence in the Andean country. Eight people have been killed there in violent anti-government protests.