updated 1/13/2006 1:55:36 PM ET 2006-01-13T18:55:36

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denounced a move by the United States on Friday to block the Spanish sale of 12 military planes equipped with American parts, calling it proof of Washington's "imperialism."

"What is this if not evidence of the horrific imperialism of the government in Washington?" Chavez said, reading news of the U.S. action as he began a speech to the National Assembly on the state of the nation.

"I denounce once again before the world the imperialist assault by the U.S. government against the Venezuelan people and the Venezuelan government," he said.

Spain agreed to sell Venezuela the planes and eight patrol boats for $2 billion in November despite U.S. threats to block the sale because it included U.S. parts and technology.

In what would be its largest-ever defense deal, Spain plans to sell 10 C-295 transport planes and two CN-235 patrol planes, as well as four ocean patrol boats and four coast patrol vessels.

The U.S. Embassy in Madrid issued a statement saying it had denied Spain permission to sell the planes equipped with U.S. parts because "the Venezuelan government's actions and frequent statements contribute to regional instability."

Chavez dismissed the U.S. concerns, saying "these are transport planes."

Officials have said neither the boats nor transport planes were armed and that the patrol planes were only equipped for self-defense.

Russian helicopters, rifles en route
The U.S. government has also expressed concern about Russia's planned sale of helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles to Venezuela starting early this year, but Russia has said it is going ahead with the deals.

"Soon the Russian helicopters will begin to arrive," Chavez said.

Chavez has accused the United States of plotting to overthrow him, and has warned any invasion would be defeated. Washington has strongly denied any such plans, but Chavez says Venezuela -- the world's No. 5 oil exporter -- must be prepared.

Chavez called the U.S. action part of a new campaign to smear his government.

This "new attack against Venezuela is just beginning ... a new international offensive against Venezuela," Chavez said. The Venezuelan leader called President Bush "Mr. Danger" and said he would fail.

"Mr. Danger will crash up against the force of the truth and the force of morality," Chavez said.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Orlando Maniglia said the government had yet to be formally notified of the matter by the maker of the planes, the European consortium EADS-Casa.

"First of all, we need to see what the company offers," he said. "We're going to wait for what the company says. We still have alternatives."

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