President Hugo Chávez engaged in some sabre-rattling Sunday, threatening to cut off the sale of oil to the United States if military action is taken against Venezuela on the Colombian border.
“If there is any armed aggression against Venezuela from Colombian territory or anywhere else supported by the Yankee empire, we . . . would suspend shipments of oil to the United States,” Chávez told a gathering of thousands of supporters.
The threat sounds menacing enough, though it is unclear who it would hurt worse — the U.S. or Venezuela.
If carried out, such a threat would be a titanic economic blow for Chávez’s government, which depends heavily on oil sales. The United States is the top buyer of oil from Venezuela, which is its fifth-biggest foreign supplier.
Colombia has not threatened military action, and it’s likely that Chávez issued the warning in part to put Washington and Bogota on notice that he will not stand for a more aggressive international campaign to denounce allegations that leftist Colombian rebels are finding refuge in Venezuela.