Chavez claims incursions by Colombian troops

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused Colombian troops of entering Venezuela across the Orinoco River, a move that he warned was a "provocation" by his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Uribe.


AFP - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday charged that Colombian troops had entered Venezuela across the Orinoco River, a move he warned was a "provocation" by his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe.

"We are not talking about a patrol with a few soldiers that strayed over a border" into Venezuela, he said.

"These troops crossed the Orinoco River in a boat and carried out an incursion into Venezuelan territory," Chavez said on his weekly television show "Hello President."

"When our troops got there (the Colombian troops) had already gone away," said Chavez, a leftist populist who has very strained ties with the conservative Uribe, the United States' closest regional ally.

Venezuela, along with many other Latin American nations, is incensed at a new agreement allowing the United States to use seven Colombian military bases.

"The Yankees are starting to command the Colombian Armed Forces; they are the ones who are in charge, who are in charge of these provocations, who make up huge lies," Chavez added.

He also suggested preferential pricing for Venezuelan oil and oil derivatives may be on the way out for Colombia. "The supply should stop, they can buy it at the market price. Why should we be favoring Uribe's government that way?" Chavez asked.

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