Venezuela sends troops to Colombia border area
President Hugo Chavez said Friday that Venezuela has deployed military units and troops to the Colombian border, because outgoing President Alvaro Uribe is "capable of anything," as a row escalates between the two.It is pretty curious for Chavez to suggest that anyone is more impulsive than he is. It will be interesting if the troops can find their way to the border before August 7. The last time he tried to deploy it was such a fiasco that he called it off. Chavez has run off most of competent officers in his army. If he somehow blunders into a war it would be a mistake to expect a conventional fight out of Venezuela.
Chavez broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia on July 22, one week after Uribe accused Venezuela of harboring 1,500 leftist Colombian rebels in its territory, a charge Chavez has strongly denied.
"We've deployed military units, air force, infantry, but quietly because we don't want to upset anybody, the population," Chavez told state-run VTV television in a telephone interview.
The leftist leader did not say how many troops and exactly what military ordnance was involved in the move.
"Uribe is capable of anything in these last days" before he leaves office on August 7, said Chavez, who had also threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States if it backed an attack by Colombia, its chief ally in the region.
Last Sunday the president cancelled a trip to Cuba, claiming the risk of a Colombian attack had never been greater.
The Colombian Air Force on Friday said it would set up an air base in Yopal, in eastern Casanares department, to keep an eye over the border area with Venezuela and take on Colombian rebel forces in the region.