The Colombian government, which recently announced that it will build a new military base near the Venezuelan border, is planning to simulate the existence of an encampment of Colombian guerrilla insurgents in Venezuela in order to justify an attack on Venezuelan territory, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on Monday.
“We have evidence that the [Colombian] government, instructed and supported by the United States, is preparing a false positive [with which] to prepare the terrain to launch an attack on Venezuelan territory,” said Chavez on national television.
´False positive´ refers to a scandal in Colombia in 2008, where armed forces personnel killed civilians and falsely reported them as combat deaths in the country’s civil war with the guerrillas.
“It would not be strange if they were to kill who knows how many people in Colombia, bring them to Venezuelan territory… construct a few huts, an improvised camp… and say there is an encampment there,” Chavez explained, saying the purpose would be to destabilize the progressive political changes brought by his government.
Chavez said the fact that the Colombian civil war has spilled across the Venezuelan border is not an excuse to attack Venezuela. “Who could totally avoid that guerrilla forces enter and leave our territory here and there, in so much forest? Yes, they themselves have more than half of Colombia occupied by the guerrilla forces,” Chavez said.
Tensions between Colombia and its South American neighbors have increased since Colombia bombed a guerrilla camp in Ecuador in March 2008 and signed a deal to host an increased number of US military personnel on seven of its bases last October.
Following the 2008 attacks, Colombia accused Venezuela of giving material support to Colombian insurgents. However, the evidence it presented, mainly in laptops allegedly recovered from the wreckage of the bombing in Ecuador, was never verified as authentic.
Venezuela accused Colombia of threatening the sovereignty of the continent and facilitating US intervention, and severed diplomatic relations and significantly decreased its economic ties to Colombia.
Over the last several months, Venezuela has sent 15,000 troops to patrol the 2,000 kilometer-long border region and prepare to defend the national territory in the case of a potential attack.
New Colombian Base near Venezuelan Border
A week and a half ago, Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva announced the construction of a new “joint base” to be shared by police and military forces near the northern border with Venezuela, and the activation of a new fleet of hundreds of Blackhawk helicopters supplied by the US
This Tuesday, Colombian President Ãlvaro Uribe declared, “I de-authorize any mention that indicates a retaliatory intention, or the intention of international warfare. This government does not permit it.”
“The only objective we have is to defeat an internal terrorist problem,” said Uribe. “While I am president, the country may not have, cannot have a strategy or a discourse of international aggression.”
US and Colombian officials have repeated this general assertion since news of their impending military pact became public last July. However, US Air Force budgetary documents explicitly state the US’s intention to use the Colombian bases for intelligence gathering and “full spectrum operations” across the entire continent.
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This post was written by James Suggett