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Colombia-Venezuela: Border Tensions Rise

The escalating war of words between the governments of Venezuela and Colombia over the deteriorating security conditions along their shared 1,375-mile border risks transforming Colombia’s civil war into an international conflict. Commentators on both sides of the border expressed mounting anxiety that the beleaguered Venezuelan regime of President Hugo Chávez would exploit the volatile security environment to distract attention from the domestic opposition’s campaign to force a recall referendum in August. “It is characteristic of this government to blame the rest for what it has done, what it is doing, and what it is thinking of doing,” columnist Adolfo Taylhardat wrote in El Universal (April 9), a leading Caracas daily harshly critical of the Chávez regime. Citing the irony that the organizer of a previous failed coup now seeks to paint his political opponents as coup plotters, Taylhardat argued that this “tactic of attempting to turn a lie into truth…also serves as an instrument of foreign policy. According to [Venezuelan Vice President José Vicente] Rangel, Colombia is the cause of all our ills because it has vacated the border to permit all the illegal activity present there: guerrillas, drug trafficking, paramilitaries, and common crime.’ ” Full Story

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