Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cécile Duflot ruffles some feathers

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Reporter’s IS captors taunted family, asked for €100m ransom

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

Americas

Venezuela destroys pedestrian bridges at border with Colombia

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-19

Venezuelan soldiers dynamited two small pedestrian bridges crossing the border between their country and Colombia, amid a tense diplomatic stand-off between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (pictured) and his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe.

REUTERS - Colombia's government said on Thursday Venezuelan soldiers had blown up two small pedestrian bridges that stretch across their border in the latest incident to stoke a diplomatic dispute between the Andean neighbors.
 
Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said uniformed troops from the Venezuelan army dynamited the bridges that cross into Colombia's Norte de Santander department in what he criticized as a violation of international law.
 
"Uniformed men, apparently from the Venezuelan army, arrived in trucks on the Venezuelan side at two pedestrian bridges that link communities on both sides ... and then proceeded to dynamite them," Silva said.
 
But Venezuelan authorities said the army had destroyed an illegal, improvised bridge spanning the border.
 
"The Venezuelan army took down a sort of walkway, put up by the people who pass from Venezuela to Colombia," said Alexis Balza, frontier director for Tachira State governor's office.
 
The long-simmering Andean spat has been mostly limited to diplomatic barbs in the past. But the current crisis is raising the risk of more violence along the volatile frontier where rebels, drug gangs and and smugglers operate.
 
Tensions are high between U.S. ally Colombia and Venezuela over a Colombian plan to allow the United States more access to its military bases as part of anti-drug and counter-insurgency cooperation against FARC rebels.
 
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, a fierce U.S. adversary, has sent more troops to the border and told his military commanders to "prepare for war" because he says the U.S. base plan could be used to stage an invasion of his OPEC nation.
 
Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe counters the base deal is just an extension of current cooperation with U.S. troops. But he has urged the United Nations and the Organization of American States to investigate Chavez's "war threats".
 
The two leaders have in the past managed to work out their differences. But the current crisis is already cutting into their $7 billion annual bilateral trade, making this dispute harder to resolve.
 
Most analysts say Chavez may be looking to gain politically by stirring up tensions as a way to distract from domestic troubles, such as power and water shortages that are threatening to dent his popularity.
 
Colombia's four-decade guerrilla war often spills over the frontier, where killings and kidnapping are common. Chavez accuses Colombia of not protecting its border while Colombian officials charge him with backing Colombia's FARC rebels.

 

Date created : 2009-11-19

COMMENT(S)