Saturday, November 28, 2009

War Worries Over Colombia/Venezuela

This week our friends from Canada, MacLean's Magazine, offer up a nice summary about a growing concern in South America - fear over a war between Colombia and Venezuela. Hugo Chavez has been making a lot of noise recently about his neighbor, but noise and Hugo Chavez pretty much go together. What has people concerned now, particularly people in Colombia, is Chavez's decision earlier this month to move 15,000 troops to the border between their two nations, supposedly to increase security after two Venezuelan border guards were shot.

Chavez is also furious over Colombia's signing a deal with the United States last month that gives the US access to seven Colombian military bases supposedly to help fight drug traffickers operating in their country. The subtext to Colombia's courting of the US though is that they have been accusing Venezuela of giving sanctuary to the FARC rebels who have been fighting a decades-long insurgency/terrorist campaign against Colombia's government. Chavez sees the agreement as setting the stage for a US invasion of Venezuela (Chavez accused the CIA of being behind a 2002 coup attempt that briefly removed him from power).

Of course it's hard to believe that the Colombian base deal is really the first step in a US invasion of Venezuela - especially since the US military is already so overstretched dealing with Iraq, Afghanistan and the way things are heading, perhaps military action against Iran as well. The problem is though with tensions running high between Colombia and Venezuela and troops massed at the border, a small event could rapidly spin out of control into something far worse.

Stay tuned...
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