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  Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the United States
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the United States and not the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was responsible for high global oil prices, Mexican media reported on Thursday.

The United States, the world's largest oil consumer, has been infuriated by OPEC's refusal to raise oil production as global prices for crude surged to new highs of over $130 per barrel.

The United States wants to turn the world against OPEC so that the organization gets the blame for high oil prices, Chavez said at a meeting with medical students in the Venezuelan capital.

The Venezuelan leader said the rapid growth in oil prices was prompted by speculative transactions on global markets rather than by demand and supply imbalances.

Chavez said the recent leap in oil prices was due to wasteful and excessive oil consumption by developed countries, and also due to conflict in Iraq and the constant threat against Iran and Venezuela.

The Venezuelan leader also lashed out at a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC cartel members for price-fixing.

Under current U.S. law, the government is forbidden from pursuing anti-trust suits against sovereign states. The new law would allow the U.S. to treat OPEC members as companies in price-fixing cases.


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