Venezuelan army on high alert after Chávez cuts diplomatic ties with Colombia

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Venezuelan troops in a parade
Image: Deffender93.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has declared that the National Army is on maximum alert along the Colombian border, after he broke relations with that country on Thursday. The declaration comes in the wake of the Colombian Secretary of State's claim before the Organisation of American States (OAS) that the FARC has a "consolidated," "active" and "growing" presence in Venezuela, with some 1500 guerrilla fighters in 87 camps.

Venezuela's Secretary of Defense Carlos Mata told the media that his forces have been mobilised since Thursday morning, and are awaiting the orders of their Commander in Chief, the President.

Chávez announced the breaking of diplomatic ties on behalf of the Venezuelan government after Colombia released documents allegedly showing the active presence of FARC on Venezuelan territory at the Washington headquarters of the OAS, demanding a special inquiry to investigate the matter. Relations between the two countries had previously been strained, after the Venezuelan government voiced its opposition to new US military bases being set up in Colombia.

The Colombian ambassador has been given 72 hours to vacate his offices in Caracas.