Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez says he is ready to break off diplomatic relations with neighbours Colombia.
Chavez is furious over negotiations between Bogota and Washington that will allow the US to increase its military presence in Colombia. Chavez vented his spleen on Venezuelan TV: “You have to prepare for the rupture of relations with Colombia because its going to happen… there is no chance of a way back or an embrace with Uribe, no, no its impossible. Those seven yankee bases are a declaration of war against the Bolivarian revolution and that’s how we see it, as a declaration of war.” Colombia and the US claim the agreement is necessary to help Colombia’s security forces fight the drug cartels and Marxist rebels. The US is due to boost its numbers at seven Colombian bases on a 10-year lease deal. The Presidents of South American nations are due to meet in Argentina on Friday to discuss the issue with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe expected to outline his intentions. Bolivia and Ecuador, close allies with Chavez, have voiced similar concerns, they are not alone, more moderate countries are also uneasy about an increased US military presence in the region.