Sunday, March 02, 2008

Venezuelan Army Put on High Alert

Hugo Chavez has ordered troops to the Colombian border following a Colombian incursion in Ecuador. From CNN:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Sunday ordered his military to move 10 battalions to the country's border with Colombia, and ordered the closure of the Venezuelan embassy in Colombia's capital.

He made the comments on his weekly Sunday talk show "Alo Presidente," or "Hello, President."

The move was in apparent reaction to Colombia's joint operation Saturday in Ecuador that resulted in the death of the second-in-command of the FARC Colombian rebels group.

Chavez condemned the operation Saturday, saying the Colombian government violated Ecuador's sovereignty. He said if the operation had been conducted in Venezuela, he would have declared war against Colombia.

"Colombia's government recognizes -- in a happy and irresponsible attitude -- that it has violated the sovereignty of a neighbor country. And that's worrisome," he said.

"President Uribe, think well. Don't think about doing that over here, don't think it. Because it would very serious, a military raid in Venezuelan territory would be 'causus belli.' There is not any excuse."

Colombian Defence Minister, Juan Manuel Santos, claimed that Uribe had informed Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. However, it has also emerged that Correa has sent a strongly worded protest to the Colombian government and has also recalled his ambassador in Colombia. Could this be an attempt by the US proxy to assert the primacy of US interests in the region? Certainly it will appear that the establishment may well spin this in favour of Uribe and in opposition to Chavez. In fact, the Bush administration already seems to have set to work on this:

The White House weighed in on the situation Sunday, saying, "We're monitoring the situation."

"This is an odd reaction by Venezuela to Colombia's efforts against the FARC, a terrorist organization that continues to hold Colombians, Americans and others hostage," spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

But then, I guess they would find it odd given as they have a thing for violating sovereign nations. The spin starts here.