Venezuela says US spies on it for resources, oil

Updated: 2013-11-06 14:24


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CARACAS -- Venezuela's natural resources, especially its vast oil reserves, make the country a target of US spying, Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez said Tuesday.

"We have enormous (natural) wealth and any country or empire that unquestionably sees its oil reserves dwindling and its energy-producing capacities gradually decreasing is going to see Venezuela, undoubtedly, as a tempting place to control," said Rodriguez.

That was why the US National Security Agency has spied on the country, said Rodriguez at a meeting of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade bloc held in Venezuela's northeastern state of Nueva Esparta.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Venezuela was one of six "enduring targets" in the National Security Agency's official mission list from 2007, citing documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The newspaper said the agency had monitored government and personal emails of top 10 Venezuelan economic officials.

Rodriguez, who is also the country's top army general, warned that no country undertakes espionage work, especially in the financial system of another country, just for fun. "They do that before going to war," he said.

The minister said he was not surprised by the US spying, because Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on the planet, one of the world's largest gas reserves, abundant freshwater and immense forest reserves.

Venezuela became a target of attacks once oil prices went back up, he added.

"We are preventing them (the US) from generating a lot of energy with little money and maintaining their untouchable way of life at the expense  of Venezuelan labor and (natural) wealth," Rodriguez said.