Chavez: Military Should Prepare for Conflict

Aug 10--President Hugo Chavez told his military to be prepared for a possible confrontation with Colombia, warning that Bogota's plans to increase the U.S. military presence at its bases poses a threat to Venezuela.

10 de agosto de 2009

havez has issued near daily warnings that Washington could use bases in Colombia to destabilize the region since learning of negotiations to lease seven Colombian military bases to the United States. (Read "Venezuela's Potty-Mouth President.")

"The threat against us is growing," Chavez said Sunday. "I call on the people and the armed forces, let's go, ready for combat!"

The former paratroop commander said Colombian soldiers were recently spotted crossing the porous 1,400-mile (2,300-kilometer) border that separates the two countries and suggested that Colombia may have been trying to provoke Venezuela's military.

"They crossed the Orinoco River in a boat and entered Venezuelan territory," Chavez said. "When our troops arrived, they'd already left."

In Bogota, Colombia's foreign ministry issued a news release denying reports that soldiers crossed into Venezuela, after a revision of troop movements by the Colombian military.
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