LONDON, June 1 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should mind his own business and not meddle in Brazilian affairs, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Friday after Chavez publicly criticized Brazil's Congress.
Chavez said on Thursday that Brazil's Congress was acting like a "puppet" of the United States after the Senate passed a motion urging Chavez to allow Venezuela's opposition television network RCTV to start broadcasting again.
"Chavez needs to take care of Venezuela, like (George W.) Bush does of the United States, and let me take care of Brazil," Lula told reporters in London, his first stop on a trip that also includes India and Germany.
Lula's response to Chavez was unusually harsh. The two presidents share leftist roots and each publicly endorsed the other in their reelection campaigns last year.
More recently, however, Lula has quietly distanced himself from Chavez, who has criticized Brazil for signing accords with the United States to promote ethanol and biofuels production. Venezuela is a leading oil producer.
Chavez's decision this week not to renew the broadcasting license of RCTV was widely criticized as undemocratic, with the European Union and the U.S. Senate condemning it.
Lula also told Brazil's foreign ministry to request an official explanation of Chavez's comments from Venezuela's ambassador in Brasilia, the ministry said in a statement.
I'd like remind readers that Venezuelans have James Earl Carter as much as anyone to thank for Chavez' stolen election and the subsequent spread of his pestilential influence in Latin America.