Sunday, March 02, 2008

Venezuela: Tanks but no thanks

Venezuela is mobilising its army to the Colombian border. Jet fighters and tanks have been dispatched with the stark warning that "We do not want war. But we are not going to let them... come and divide and weaken us."

The moves come after the Colombian army made a military strike inside of Ecuador, killing among others Farc commander Raul Reyes.

The Colombian government issued a statement saying that "Colombia has not violated any sovereignty, only acted in accordance with the principal of legitimate defense," the government said in a statement.

"The terrorists, among them Raul Reyes, were used to killing in Colombia and invading the neighbouring countries to hide. Many times Colombia has suffered these situations, which we are obliged to avoid to defend our citizens," it said. Unfortunately it is difficult to buy this idea that Colombian citizens are simply being protected by a government world renown for its suppression of civil liberties and support of death squads.

Chavez, who is attempting to broker a negotiated settlement between Farc and the Colombian government, when he's not denouncing and expelling his friends, is showing that he's prepared to back up words with force - but launching a pre-emptive strike against the US-backed Colombia could be biting off far more than he, or the people of Venezuela, may wish to chew.

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