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Venezuela Severs Ties with Colombia

July 22, 2010

Venezuelan Leader Hugo Chavez

From this Link:

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez severed Venezuela’s diplomatic relations with Colombia on Thursday over claims he harbors guerrillas and warned that his that his neighbor’s leader could attempt to provoke a war between the South American nations.

Chavez said he was forced to break off all relations because Colombian officials claim he has failed to act against leftist rebels who allegedly have taken shelter in Venezuelan territory.

He acted moments after Colombian Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos presented a meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington with photos, videos, witness testimony and maps of what he said were rebel camps inside Venezuela and challenged Venezuelan officials to let independent observers visit them.

He said the camps were used to harbor guerrillas who stage attacks in Colombia and are involved in international drug trafficking.

Neither Chavez nor his ambassador, Roy Chaderton, directly responded to the Colombian challenge, though Chaderton suggested the evidence was fraudulent.

Chavez said the United States is using Colombia to undermine Venezuela’s efforts toward regional integration, and expressed doubts that Colombia’s president-elect, Juan Manuel Santos, will stray from Uribe’s U.S.-backed military policies.

“Hopefully he’ll understand that leftist and right-wing governments can live together,” Chavez said of Santos.

Chavez insisted that Venezuela is doing everything possible to prevent members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the smaller National Liberation Army from crossing into Venezuelan territory.

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