Chavez, allies lead push for Libya mediation

March 16, 2011 - 0:0

CARACAS (AP) – As Muammar Gaddafi finds himself increasingly isolated internationally, he still has at least a few friends far away.

Latin America's most prominent leftists rallied early to his defense and have stayed there even as former friends, neighbors and countrymen have abandoned the embattled Libyan leader and urged his ouster.
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Cuba's Fidel Castro and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega have been foremost in opposing U.S. and NATO military involvement, and in suggesting that reports of atrocities by Gaddafi's troops are overblown or unproven.
“The United States is proposing a war over Libya because they want Libyan oil,” Chavez said Sunday. He praised the African Union for appointing a commission of leaders to travel to Libya for talks — an effort in line with his own peace proposals.
Chavez's calls for mediation reflect both his affinity for Gaddafi and his ambition to be a global player, rallying nations against the United States.
Both Castro and Chavez have repeatedly suggested the U.S. is stirring up trouble in Libya to grab its oil and say Libyans should settle their own internal conflict.