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Chavez accuses Colombia of plotting war

Latest update : 2008-05-12

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez claimed that the Colombian government was planning a war against Venezuela.

President Hugo Chavez said Sunday on his radio talk show that neighboring Colombia is trying to provoke Venezuela into a war so as to draw in and "justify" an armed intervention by the United States.

  

"The government of Colombia is capable of provoking a war with Venezuela to justify a US intervention in Venezuela," Chavez said on his weekly program "Alo Presidente."

  

He warned Colombian President Alvaro Uribe: "think closely about how far you can go, and I publicly urge you a moment of reflection."

  

Chavez and Uribe locked horns in March after a Colombian military attack on a Colombian rebel camp inside Ecuador -- a leftist ally of Venezuela -- triggered a week-long row that sent Ecuadoran and Colombian troops to their borders with Venezuela.

  

Chavez and Uribe have also sparred over mediation attempts to get some 40 prominent hostages of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia released, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.

  

Chavez, a populist and virulently anti-American president, has also condemned what he calls US interference in Venezuela and alleged US-led plots to overthrow him.

  

"I issue an alert to the continent, the Venezuelan people, the armed forces over the Colombian government's intention to provoke a war against us," Chavez said.

  

"This has been planned and (the war) would come by way of the (western) states of Zulia and Tachira. They've been playing for time and making their plans.

  

"It would be a war in which the paramilitaries would play a role of penetration and intelligence," Chavez said, allegedly referring to Colombia's right-wing paramilitary forces.

  

Colombia and the United States have previously dismissed similar statements by Chavez.

Date created : 2008-05-12

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