Venezuela sends troops to border with Colombia

March 3rd, 2008 - 5:02 am ICT by admin  

Caracas, March 3 (Xinhua) Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, has ordered mobilization of the nation’s armed forces to its border with Colombia and the closure of Venezuelan embassy in Colombia. “We are at a state of alertness. I am putting Venezuela on alert and we will support Ecuador,” Chavez said Sunday.

Chavez strongly condemned the killing of Raul Reyes, a senior leader of Colombia’s largest armed rebel group - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The Colombian army killed Reyes Saturday in Ecuadorian territory. Ecuador responded with a protest letter sent via diplomatic channels.

Chavez said that he had received a phone call from Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, in which Correa said he had recalled Ecuador’s ambassador to Colombia and ordered the mobilization of troops to Ecuador’s border with Colombia.

“We are in a state of alert and we will back Ecuador in whatever circumstance,” Chavez said.

He said that Colombia’s military leaders had recognized that they had deliberately invaded Ecuadorian territory, something that is extremely serious.

“It could be the start of a South American war,” Chavez said.

Chavez also said that he would not take part in the next South American Union of Nations meeting set for late March in Colombia’s capital Bogota.

He went on to describe Colombia’s president, Alvaro Uribe, as a criminal.

“Not only is he a liar, a mafia boss, a paramilitary who leads a narco-government and a government that is a lackey of the United States, he leads a band of criminals from his palace,” he said.

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