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Chavez plays tough with Colombia

Latest update : 2008-03-02

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez warned Colombia Saturday not to carry out a cross-border raid against Marxist FARC rebels in Venezuelan territory, saying it could spark a war.

CARACAS, March 1 (Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez warned
Colombia on Saturday it would be a "cause for war" if its
forces struck inside Venezuelan territory as they did in
Ecuador killing a top Colombian rebel commander there.

"Don't be thinking that you can do that here ... because it
would be extremely serious and would be a causa belli, a cause
for war, (if there is) a military incursion in Venezuelan
territory. There's no excuse," Chavez said in his most
belligerent comments to date in a diplomatic dispute with

Colombia's military said troops killed Raul Reyes, a leader
of Marxist FARC rebels, during an attack on a jungle camp in
Ecuador in a severe blow to Latin America's oldest guerrilla
insurgency. The operation included air strikes and fighting
with rebels across the border.

Chavez has been at odds with U.S.-backed Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe over the Venezuelan's mediation with the
FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, over the
release of hostages held by the rebels.

The outspoken, anti-U.S. Chavez has called Uribe a pawn of
the United States in the superpower's plans to attack
Venezuela. Colombia and the United States deny the accusation
from Chavez who regularly says without providing evidence that
Washington is plotting his ouster.

Chavez has withdrawn his ambassador from Bogota and in
recent weeks insulted Uribe during his speeches.

Date created : 2008-03-02