Saturday 31 July 2010

Chavez: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by Colombia threats

By Federico Fuentes
Green Left Weekly

Alarm bells should be ringing as the threat of war looms on the horizon, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned in his July 18 weekly column.

The warning came after tensions again flared with neighbouring Colombia, and the Central American nation of Costa Rica agreed to 6000 US troops being deployed on its soil.

Chavez placed Venezuela on high alert and broke diplomatic relations with Colombia after a July 22 meeting of the Organisation of American States (OAS).

The Colombian administration of President Alvaro Uribe alleged at the meeting that the Chavez government was harbouring camps of armed groups waging a guerrilla struggle in Colombia.

Colombia called for “international intervention” in Venezuela.

Five days earlier, US State Department spokesperson Phillip Crowley said the “possible” presence of “rebels in Venezuelan territory” had also worried his government for a long time.

Last year, Colombia agreed to the establishment of seven new US military bases in its territory. Colombia is the US’s main ally in the region and third largest recipient of US military aid in the world.

“I have ordered a maximum alert on our borders”, Chavez said on July 22. Uribe is “a mafioso and a liar”, Chavez said, and “is even capable of staging a camp in some part of the Venezuelan jungle, order it be attacked in order to generate a war between Venezuela and Colombia”.

In 2008, the Uribe government took the region to the brink of war when it violated Ecuadorian sovereignty and bombed a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp on Ecuador’s side of the border. These latest accusations point towards justifying a pre-emptive war on Venezuela.

In his July 18 column, Chavez outlined some of the recent menacing events.

These included: statements by US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela that Venezuela was proving to be the US’s “most difficult relation”; incursions by Dutch military planes into Venezuelan airspace; the call by the Chilean senate for international organisations to adopt “a more vigilant attitude” towards Venezuela’s National Assembly elections in September; and the arrest in Venezuela of renowned terrorist Francisco Chavez Abarca, who admitted entering the country to carry out sabotage.

Chavez also pointed to the July 16 decision by the Costa Rican congress to allow the US to deploy between 6000-10,000 soldiers and 46 warships. The mobilisation is justified as part of the “war on drugs”.

Chavez said: “We would be naive if we did not look at all of this aggression as a whole; everything is related. I think we are looking at a re-enactment of the US imperial doctrine.
“International relations are becoming tenser.”

Chavez raised: “The military exercises by South Korea and the gringos in the Yellow Sea; the mobilisation of US and Israeli troops near Iran's coasts; the violence in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan; and the criminal blockade of Gaza by Israel with US approval.”

Chavez said the Obama administration was following “the same line as a warmonger and the same strategy of domination” as the previous administration of George Bush.

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