"And why? Because they realise that the popular Latin American offensive is for real," he said.

 

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Chavez said Latin America must fight back. "We have resisted for a long time. But no one wins a battle always staying on the defensive," he said.

 

He alleged that the US embassies in Venezuela and Bolivia were plotting to overthrow him and Morales, citing the US-backed 1973 coup in Chile that toppled socialist president Salvador Allende as a precedent.

 

After signing several agreements with Bolivia to strengthen ties with Venezuela, he moved on to Nicaragua late Sunday, meeting Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua's president.

 

Chavez is due to travel to Jamaica as well as Haiti on Monday.

 

Bush in Colombia

 

Meanwhile, Bush visited Colombia on Sunday, giving tacit support to the government of Alvaro Uribe.


"Your country has come through very difficult times and now there's a brighter day ahead. We have been friends and we will remain friends," Bush said after meeting Uribe at the presidential palace.

 

Bush, right, reiterated ties between
Washington and Bogota [AFP] 
Bush showed appreciation for Uribe's efforts against leftist rebels and drug traffickers, but also acknowledged the desire of congressional Democrats that Colombia improve its rights record.

 

"I appreciate the president's determination to bring human rights violators to justice," Bush said of Uribe.

 

"He is strong in that determination. It's going to be very important for members of our United States congress to see that determination and I believe that, given a fair chance, president Uribe can make the case."

 

Bush's visit generated violent protests. About 2km away from the presidential palace, some 2,000 protesters chanted "Down with Bush" and burned American flags.

 

Colombia was the third country on the president's five-nation tour of Latin America; he visits Guatemala and Mexico before returning to Washington on Wednesday.