Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'iVIOLATED'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad considers fresh offer for T-Mobile

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to school!

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: Thousands pay tribute to Michael Brown

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Anti-govt protesters briefly seize Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

Americas

Chavez deploys troops over Colombia tensions

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-31

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said he had deployed troops on Friday, as tensions with Colombia mount after Bogota charged Chavez of harbouring leftist rebels.

REUTERS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday said he deployed military units to repel a possible attack after Colombia claimed last week his country harbored leftist rebels, but said he hoped to mend ties soon.
 
Chavez severed relations with U.S. ally Colombia last week over Bogota's charges his oil exporting country allowed Colombian guerrillas to stay in camps.
 
He has since said Colombia was preparing a military attack. Colombia denies the charge, and most analysts say a war between the countries is very unlikely.
 
"I should tell you we have deployed units to defend our sovereignty in case of an aggression, air defense units, air units, infantry, special operations," Chavez said in a phone call to a state TV station, adding that a Colombian aircraft had violated Venezuela airspace for five minutes this week.
 
"We don't want to hurt anybody. We don't want to cause alarm in the population," said Chavez, who has seized on the dispute with Colombia to rally supporters ahead of parliamentary elections on Sept. 26.
 
This week Venezuelan soldiers visited sites Colombia says are established military bases, but they found only derelict buildings, Chavez said. In one case, the coordinate given by Colombia led soldiers to a rock in a river, he said.
 
"Last night I said to the guys, "lift the rock," sure its not a big stone, but you never know, there might be a tunnel," he said. "Maybe under the stone there is a tunnel and a camp, Vietnam-style."
 
On Sunday he threatened to cut oil supplies to the United States, who he says is behind the alleged plan to invade, in case of military aggression from Colombia. The threat is a common one for Chavez, but he has never followed through and oil and debt markets shrugged off the news.
 
The socialist leader said he believed the outgoing conservative government of President Alvaro Uribe, who he described as "obsessed," might still attack Venezuela, but said his Foreign Minister will meet with Colombia's new government, which takes office on Aug. 7.
 
Close Uribe ally Juan Manuel Santos, a former defense minister who will become president next week, wants to improve relations with Venezuela because the festering dispute has cost Colombia billions of dollars in lost trade.
 
Chavez did not say where he had sent the forces, or how many were deployed. Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez on Thursday promised no attack was planned.
 
Two years ago, Chavez ordered tanks to the border in protest at a Colombian bombing raid on a guerrilla base in Ecuador. It was never clear if the tanks were mobilized.
 
A former soldier, Chavez says he would not launch an offensive against another country, but has spent billions retooling his armed forces because he says the OPEC nation is
vulnerable to a U.S.-backed invasion.
 
Venezuela has proposed a wide-reaching peace plan to end Colombia's four-decade civil war, saying it is a victim of violent groups that spill over the border. Uribe has wanted
Chavez to take action against guerrillas he say launch dozens of attacks from Venezuela.
 
Chavez denies his government supports the rebels, but says he cannot take sides in the Colombia's war. He also recognizes that much of Venezuela's 1,375-mile (2,200-km) border with Colombia is porous and vulnerable.

Date created : 2010-07-31

COMMENT(S)