The New York Times

Chavez Threatens Break With Colombia

Aug 26--Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday he was preparing to break off diplomatic relations with Colombia in an escalating dispute over Bogota's decision to grant the U.S. military access to Colombian bases.

26 de agosto de 2009

"We have to prepare the rupture of relations with Colombia, Nicolas. This is going to happen," Chavez told his foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro in a state television broadcast.

Chavez is furious at a U.S.-Colombian security agreement that will allow the U.S. military access to seven of its bases to tackle drug trafficking and leftist guerrillas.

Chavez views the increased American military presence in Colombia as an attempt to surround and isolate his leftist government and has warned tat the build-up of troops could lead to war in South America.

Both Washington and Bogota have denied they are targeting Venezuela and maintain that the maximum number of U.S. soldiers allowed on Colombian soil remains capped at 800 as before.
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