Amid severe drought conditions, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says that he will begin to use cloud seeding to cause precipitation in the country, becoming latest nation to engage in the controversial process.

The Associated Press is reporting that Venezuela has received cloud-seeding equipment from personal friend Fidel Castro and Cuban President Raul Castro.

Venezuela is known to furnish Cuba with subsidized oil.

"Any cloud that comes in my way, I'll hurl a lightning bolt at it," Chavez said in a televised speech. "Tonight I'm going out to bombard." Cloud seeding attempts to alter weather conditions by spreading substances into the air to either increase or decrease precipitation. Its effectiveness is widely disputed because it cannot be known whether the precipitation, or lack thereof, would have occurred without the seeding.

The rainy period for the Venezuela and northern Colombia region typically lasts from May to November, so the drought is likely to intensify over the next four to five months as the dry season begins in December.

In addition to putting a further strain on regular water usage for the population, worsening drought conditions could increase already common power outages in Venezuela, as most of the electricity in the country comes from hydroelectric dams.

Chavez has been immersed in a political battle over usable water as it becomes scarcer during the drought. His opposition has blamed the government for failing to produce adequate infrastructure for water and energy under his watch. Water and energy rationing were instituted recently in Caracas, Venezuela's capital.

Chavez did not mention a timetable for implementing the cloud-seeding project.

Story by's Jon Auciello