Tensions Mount Along the Colombia – Venezuela Border
Militias have been added to the troop buildup in Venezuela along the border with Colombia following a U.S.-Colombia base agreement. However unlikely, a potential war between the two countries would almost certainly require U.S. intervention. Colombia is looking to the U.N. Security Council for resolution.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has recently mobilized popular militias along the southern border with Colombia to prepare for war in the event of a U.S. led invasion of the country. The militia presence is in addition to the 15,000 troops he has recently sent to the region to respond to border tensions and narcotics trafficking. All of this coincides with the recent base agreement signed in October between the U.S. and Colombia to expand the U.S. military presence in that country.
According to former Venezuelan Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs Fernando Ochoa Antich, a war between Venezuela and Colombia would presuppose U.S. intervention on the side of Colombia. However, the reasons for increased militarization along the border may have more to do with internal Venezuelan politics and expansion of the Bolivarian revolution than a perceived U.S. threat from Colombia, in spite of President Chavez’s claims that this is a sovereignty issue.
Colombia has appealed to the U.N. Security Council in response to the war rhetoric coming from President Chavez, and the U.S. has repeatedly stated that the proposed bases pose no threat to Venezuela and are intended solely to combat narcotics trafficking and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).