Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Venezuela vs. Colombia

Rocky relations between Colombia and Venezuela took a turn for the worse in August when Colombia announced that it would let the U.S. use its military bases to counter the drug trade and terrorism. A number of leftist governments — including those in Bolivia and Ecuador — criticized the agreement in light of the U.S.'s long history of unseating Latin American leaders it does not like. But Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez went further than others, calling the base deal a "declaration of war" against socialist governments like his own. A series of spats between the two countries ensued; Colombia accused Venezuela of supplying guerrillas within its borders with antitank weapons, and Venezuela claimed it had captured two Colombian spies. By November, Chávez was telling his army to prepare for war, comments that led to more border skirmishes. Colombia appealed to the U.N. Security Council and the Organization of American States to intervene, but as of late November, the situation remained frightfully charged.