Washington statue in Caracas struck with explosives

Other News Materials 14 February 2008 02:18 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - An explosion device detonated in Caracas' Washington Square caused damage to the base of the statue to United States' revolutionary hero and first elected president George Washington, the police said.

The explosion, which did not cause casualties, came at a particularly tense time in US-Venezuelan relations, and only hours after Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) suspended the supply of oil to US oil giant Exxon Mobil.

Caracas police director Antonio Pujols said the blast happened in the early hours of Wednesday at the square, in the El Paraiso neighbourhood in the Venezuelan capital.

Pujols added that leaflets were found at the scene in which the unknown Grupo Venceremos de la Izquierda Central Unida (We Will Prevail Group of the United Central Left) claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to stop supplying oil to the United States, following legal action by the world's largest private oil company, Exxon-Mobil, against PDVSA over the country's nationalization of oil fields.

PDSVA said Tuesday that it had suspended the supply of oil to Exxon Mobil in the light of the "legal-economic harassment" to which the US company was subjecting its Venezuelan counterpart.