USA Today

Chavez objects to Colombia base deal with U.S.

Jul 22--Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is objecting to Colombia's decision to let the United States increase its military presence in the neighboring country.

22 de julio de 2009

Chavez said Tuesday that Colombia's plan to accommodate more U.S. troops at its air and naval bases is "a threat against us."

"They are surrounding Venezuela with military bases," he said in a televised speech. He said he ordered "an entire review of our relations with Colombia" as a result.

A fifth round of U.S.-Colombia negotiations on an accord are set for next week. Most details of the anticipated pact have not been divulged, but Colombian officials say the number of U.S. service personnel and civilian military contractors will not exceed the 1,400 mandated by the U.S. Congress.

Chavez has often accused the United States of plotting to overthrow or undermine him. His relations with Washington remain strained even though he and President Obama's administration recently restored their ambassadors, seeking more dialogue. Chavez expelled the U.S. envoy last year, and Washington responded in kind.
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