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| 11/18/2009 12:00:00 AM

Chavez's threats of war against Colombia should raise alarm bells

Nov 18--Venezuela's leader is not making empty threats, says a consultant: A border skirmish, if not war, would solidify Chavez's support base amid rising inflation, rampant crime and a stagnant economy.

Reacting to a deal that gives the Pentagon use of seven bases in Colombia for flights to combat drug trafficking and insurgency, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said this month that his country should prepare for war with its neighbor. It was only the latest belligerent statement directed at his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Uribe.

Should Chavez be taken seriously? Yes, says Maruja Tarre, former international relations professor with a degree from Harvard Kennedy School and now a Caracas-based consultant to multinational firms.

With his revolution losing popularity amid rising inflation, rampant crime, a stagnant economy, and frequent water shortages and power outages, Chavez needs a galvanizing event, she says. A border skirmish, if not a full-fledged war, would solidify his support base ahead of next year's legislative elections and give his Bolivarian Revolution the heroic episode that it lacks.
 
Read more here.
 
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EDICIÓN 1829

PORTADA

Gran encuesta presidencial

Vargas Lleras arranca fuerte, Petro está estancado, Fajardo tiene cómo crecer y los partidos tradicionales andan rezagados. Entre los uribistas, Ramos se ve fuerte. Y Santos tiene 35 por ciento de aceptación. Gran encuesta de Invamer para Caracol Televisión, Blu Radio y SEMANA.