As the United States moves military ships toward the Mediterranean Sea and officials discuss the possibility of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said it was irresponsible to consider all options to resolve the situation there, including an invasion.
In recent days, the U.S. and allies such as the United Kingdom and Australia have mentioned the possibility of putting in place a no-fly zone over Libya amid reports that pilots aboard military planes have been attacking opposition protesters.
On Tuesday, during a hearing before a Congressional panel, a U.S. military leader said establishing a no-fly zone over Libya would involve taking out Libyan air defenses.
Gen. James Mattis, who heads U.S. Central Command, said a no-fly zone would deter attempts to bomb anti-government protesters.
Pentagon spokespersons said Monday the U.S. military has dispatched ships closer to Libya in case they're needed.
The same day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Geneva for a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, where she said the U.S. was considering all possible options for action.
Mercenaries and thugs have been turned loose to attack demonstrators, she said. As we move forward on these fronts, we will continue to explore all possible options for action - as we have said, nothing is of the table so long as the Libyan government continues to threaten and kill Libyan citizens.
Chavez called for world leaders to establish a goodwill commission to mediate between Libya's government and opposition and denounced the U.S. position.
Instead of sending marines, tanks and airplanes, why don't we send a Commission of Friendly Nations of Goodwill to help so they don't continue killing themselves in Libya? Chavez said on Venezuelan state television on Monday.
They've said they're ready to support the opposition and aren't taking anything off the table, he said, referring the U.S. position. I think they're crazy for Libyan oil.
Military intervention in Libya would be a catastrophe. What happened there is a serious matter ... there's a tragedy in Libya, whatever the cause, he said. Now imagine a Yankee invasion.
The U.S. and other nations including China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom voted in favor of concerted action - but not military action - on the Libyan situation over the weekend.
UN Resolution 1970 referred the matter to an international prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, imposes an arms embargo against the country, establishes a Libyan government assets freeze, sets in place a travel ban for some officials, and calls for humanitarian aid for people affected.
Chavez also defended Gaddafi, saying he wouldn't be swayed just because everyone is calling the Libyan leader a murderer.
Well it doesn't seem that way, I would be a coward if, without knowing exactly what is happening in Libya, I called him a murderer, he said.