Chavez Threatens War With Colombia

Tensions are mounting in Central America as Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez masses troops on the border with Columbia and tells his military to “prepare for war”.

The Venezuelan ambassador to Bogota, Gustavo Marquez, said that the seriousness of the situation could not be overstated and that “there is a pre-war situation in the entire region”.

Diplomatic relations between the South American neighbours are frozen and on Saturday President Chavez escalated the war of words with President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia by saying there was no chance of dialogue.

While those who are committed Chavez fans, convinced that he wants only what is best for his people and the region, may accept his claim that this escalation is necessary because Columbia has invited the US to set up military bases in their country, which Chavez sees as presaging a US invasion of Venezuela, most will see this as evidence that Chavez is seeking to establish a national enemy in order to distract his people’s attention from the economic problems the Chavez regime has inflicted on them. His ability to use Venezuelan oil revenues to buy support at home and abroad is suffering because his government-run oil companies have failed to invest in infrastructure and thus have experienced declining output over the last several years.

The broadside came after Colombia detained four members of the Venezuelan National Guard in a boat allegedly on Colombian territory in the remote border province of Vichada. Colombia said yesterday that it would deport the men back to Venezuela.

Tensions between Presidents Uribe and Chavez have escalated in recent months as the two leaders have become increasingly suspicious of each other.

Colombia’s Marxist rebels, the Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN), are known to have bases within Venezuela from where they plan and launch attacks on Colombia’s US-backed army.

Mr Chavez hotly denies any links with the rebels, even though there have been seizures of Venezuelan arms and munitions in FARC camps.

President Uribe is trying to diffuse tensions since Mr Chavez began blocking the entry of Colombian goods, something which is costing the fragile economy hundreds of millions of pounds.

He stated that the captured Venezuelan soldiers would be returned as quickly as possible and “carry with them the message that here their affection for our Venezuelan brothers and that this affection is unquenchable”.

Mr Chavez has ordered another 15,000 soldiers to take up positions along the 1300-mile frontier, while Colombia has created a new division of its army to guard a strategic stretch of the border.

Analysts worry that Marxist rebel groups could manipulate the troop build-up by starting a firefight, sparking a war between the two countries.

Please pray for peace in Central America, and that the people of Venezuela will someday be peacefully freed of domination by this militarist strongman.

30 Responses to Chavez Threatens War With Colombia

  • c matt says:

    To be accurate, Venezuela and Colombia are in South America, not Central (actually , Central America does not exist as a separate continent – it is a geopolitical designation like the Middle East).

  • Art Deco says:

    Colombia is thrice as populous as Venezuela and has a working military, albeit one occupied in counter-insurgency operations rather than conventional war. Col. Chavez has been (per news reports) been cashiering officers on political criteria. One can easily imagine this will end badly for Venezuela if they come to blows.

  • Dan says:

    While I have nothing but contempt for Chavez and his corrupt and near-despotic government, I believe it to be a tragic mistake for Colombia to allow the US to build any military facility in their country. The influence of the US is every bit as malignant as that of Chavez and his ilk.

    I can only hope the people of Colombia will knock some sense into the heads of their leaders and tell them to keep the American rattlesnake at arm’s length.

  • Zak says:

    Dan,
    The American rattlesnake’s support for Uribe (and Pastrana before) through Plan Colombia has given the Colombian government the chance to defeat the FARC and ELN sufficiently so that many more people there live in peace than was the case 10 years ago. US extradition is the threat whereby Colombia was able to convince the AUC right wing paramilitary to stand down. It seems the snake has mostly bitten the rabid dogs.

  • Claude says:

    It’s not the first time Chávez threatens to do something like this. If my memory serves me well, the last time there were rumours that he wouldn’t be obeyed if he ordered the Armed Forces something crazy.

    The problem with this kind of people is that you get used to see them posing as personae and parroting a ludicrous jargon (all that “Bolivarian” and “21st-century socialism” stuff which, by the way, is pure plagiarism from Peron’s “20-century socialism”, to the extent that it’s fair to say that Chávez is a Peronist) and you start taking them less and less seriously, until one day they mean it.

  • Michael,

    Glad to see you continue to show up whenever you have something particularly deep to say.

    Given that basically all the commentary here comes from the UK Telegraph, I’m not sure what exactly of mine you think should be discounted. Perhaps my suggestion that we all pray that Chavez not allow his militarism to run away with him and lead his country into an unnecessary and unjust war?

    As for my referring to Columbia and Venezuala as being in Central American — it would have been more precise for me to speak of “Latin America” or simply of “South America”. Arguing about whether Columia is in “Central America” is (given that Central America is not actually a continent, but rather a term used for the most southern reaches of North America) rather like arguing whether Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of the “Middle East”. I’m not going to bother with it — but if you think it’s the most interesting thing about Chavez’s brinksmanship, feel free to enlighten us.

    (I considered correcting the wording in the article as soon as it was mentioned, since I realized I’d simply been sloppy in writing it quickly, but I figured since someone had pointed out the issue via a comment it was more honest to leave it as is.)

  • c matt says:

    In fact, if you look at it from the point of view whether a Venezuelan-Colombian fracas would be more disruptive to neighbors to the north or those to the south, I would venture to say to the north. The closest southern (really, more southeastern) neighbor would be Brazil, and given the relative size and stability, it would be less impacted than say, Panama, to the north. Perhaps Paraguay, Bolivia or Ecuador would feel it more like Panama, but assuming most of it would occur along the Col-Ven border, they would seem more physically removed.

  • As for my referring to Columbia and Venezuala as being in Central American…

    Ah yes, you finally get around to responding to my comment at this point.

    …it would have been more precise for me to speak of “Latin America” or simply of “South America”.

    Yes. Precisely my point.

    Arguing about whether Columia is in “Central America” is (given that Central America is not actually a continent, but rather a term used for the most southern reaches of North America) rather like arguing whether Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of the “Middle East”.

    No, it’s not. It’s quite obvious what “Central America” refers to, especially to folks who actually care about the region and do not simply make reference to it in order to do some pro-Amerikkka posturing.

  • Michael,

    If you are so incredibly concerned about the region, I’m a bit confused as to whether you’ve posted twice about a mistake I made in terminology, but seem to have no particular concern about Columbia potentially being invaded by Chavez for no very good reason.

    Personally, I have a couple friends who live in Columbia, and I certainly wouldn’t want the delusions of the left’s favorite South American strongman to result in their country being invaded. Is that “pro-Amerikka posturing”?

    Maybe if Chavez had spent some time at the School of the Americas or was considered “right wing” you too could bring yourself to care about Columbia?

  • jonathanjones02 says:

    pro-Amerikkka posturing

    Ah yes – thanks for the few seconds of distraction and enertainment. This typically juvenile behavior is more notable than much of rest, however, given the very significant amount of ideological gymnastics one would need to attempt in an engagement with Darwin (or myself, let’s return to issue of Honduras if you wish) concerning the actions of Chavez – especially if one would wish to deride imperialism, militarism, interfering with the affairs of other nations, ect. ect. ect. Or maybe its in some way ok if the person claims to speak for the “oppressed??” Let us know!

    So how about giving it a shot, then, and leaving these sorts of pleas for attention aside?

  • Touche.

    All right, Michael. We know now that you care about Colombia — though apparently not about other countries you don’t know how to spell. (e.g. “Amerikkka”)

    And we know that I incorrectly imagined one could refer to all the countries with coastline on the Caribean Basin as “Central America”.

    Perish the thought, however that we should allow ourselves to be distracted from these important learnings into not wanting Chavez to start a war or anything. That would be madness.

  • michael we all know you dont listen to yourself. as for this iccedient venizula should just call it off because if they do anything to the U.S base in columbia the united states will send forces to Venizula and the u.s will win. i also think that the people in venuzlia should stop because they already have there 4 guards back. nobody got hurt and if this happens again. the u.s should just leave the base in columbia for good because next time there will be a war for sure.

  • j. christian says:

    “folks who actually care about the region…”

    Iafrate can read into men’s souls. What a charism. Must be another example of God choosing an idiot to do his work.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Actually the definition of Central America has shifted over time. For example, when Panama was part of Colombia it was not considered part of Central America, although it was always a separate, and rebellious, region of that country. Some definitions of Central America include the southern portions of Mexico. The European Union excludes Belize from its definition of Central America.

  • Anono says:

    There’s no evidence that Michael “cares” or does anything whatsoever about the Third World poor other than to mention them occasionally as a prop on behalf of whatever lefty cause he’s supporting as to relatively richer North Americans.

  • if i didnt care. then why would i put a comment on this article. As you can see you are probably someone who lives in venizula and knows if you guys harm the base in coloumbia we will send more then 15000 men over there and beat you guys like on how we did to any toher country who tried thearting us.

  • Anono says:

    There’s also no evidence that Michael is anti-war. The only wars he ever complains about are those in which America was involved. If it’s one of the thugs that he otherwise admires (Chavez), he doesn’t care.

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