Chávez condemns Colombian government

PRESIDENT Hugo Chávez has dismissed Colombian charges that he harboured leftist Colombian rebels as "a hoax" and pretext for a possible US-backed invasion of his oil-rich country.

A day after abruptly severing relations with US ally Colombia over the accusations, the socialist Venezuelan leader condemned the government of outgoing Colombian president Alvaro Uribe as "an instrument of (US] imperialism".

Chvez said the US was targeting his revolutionary rule over Venezuela, which remains a leading US oil supplier.