President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has ordered his military to prepare for a possible war with neighbouring Colombia.
Tensions along the Venezuela-Colombia border have been high of late following a series of shootings.
Chavez blames the breakdown on Colombia’s closer military ties with the United States, he said: “Military comrades we won’t loose a day in completing our primary mission, which is to prepare ourselves for war and to help the people prepare for war because its everybody’s responsibility.”
In response the Colombians say they are to take Venezuela’s war threat to the UN.
For Chavez, Bogota’s military cooperation pact, signed last month with the US, could set the stage for a US invasion launched from Colombian soil.
“Colombia has not and will not offer a single gesture of war to the international community, least of all to brotherly nations. In the face of these threats of war from the Venezuelan government, the government of Colombia proposes to go to the Organisation of American States and the Security Council of the United Nations. “
In the latest border spat four people were injured after Colombian protesters clashed with Venezuelan frontier guards.
The line between the countries is where Colombian outlaws, drug traffickers and smugglers operate and violence is common.