CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuela's energy minister, Rafael Ramirez, said that Caracas is "ready and willing" to cut off its oil supply to the United States, if there are any signs of aggression from the superpower toward his country. "We are prepared to do that, and we stand ready to defend our rights," Ramirez told the official news agency ABN. On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to end oil exports to the United States if Washington did not stop its "aggressions." "We do not want to break relations with the US government; it is not in our plans," Chavez said. "But if the aggressions continue, ... this could put diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the United States at risk." Washington's attacks could provoke "something more serious: These two daily boats full of Venezuelan oil could head another way instead of going to the United States," warned Chavez, whose country is the fourth-largest provider of oil to the United States, supplying some 1.5 million barrels a day. "The US market is not indispensable to us," he told thousands of young people taking part in a youth festival at a Caracas arena. Ramirez made a similar statement on Tuesday, declaring that Caracas, the only Latin American member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, had other clients to court, including China. He admitted that cutting off Venezuela's oil supply to the United States would affect his country's economy, but he added: "That is just the price we will have to pay to maintain sovereignty." Chavez has become an increasingly outspoken critic of the United States, and accuses Washington of planning attacks against Venezuela, while the United States has accused Venezuela of funding efforts to destabilize Latin American neighbors and allowing weapons to cross into Colombia, whose government is battling a leftist insurgency. The latest rhetoric from Caracas came about a week after the Venezuelan government announced that it had cut its anti-drug cooperation with the United States, accusing the US Drug Enforcement Administration of breaking local drug laws. Venezuela then withdrew diplomatic immunity for US anti-narcotics agents after the United States withdrew visas for several Venezuelan officials in Washington, on suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking.