Chavez threatens Colombia break

Venezuela may cut ties with Bogota over deal giving US troops access to bases.

    Uribe, left, has defended the deal with the US as necessary to tackle drug trafficking [File: AFP]

    'Declaration of war'

    The US deployment on Colombian soil would be capped at 800 troops, according to the agreement, but Chavez has warned that the bases could be used as a launching point to unseat Latin American leaders.

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    "Those seven Yankee bases there are a declaration of war against the Bolivarian revolution and that's how we see it. A declaration of war," Chavez said.

    Bogota and Caracas share a $7bn-a-year trade realtionship, but in light of the military deal, Chavez has threatened to shift many of the country's purchases to Argentina.

    He also withdrew his ambassador to Bogota earlier this month, before sending him back several days later.

    Venezuela's threat to cut ties with Colombia came before a regional summit in Bariloche, Argentina, on Friday, where Latin American leaders will discuss the US-Colombian security arrangement.

    Bolivia and Ecuador, allies of Venezuela, have also criticised the troop deal, but a number of nations in the region have dismissed the concerns, saying that it is purely an internal matter for Colombia.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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