“WAR HAS BEGUN”, SAYS VENEZUELA

March 5, 2008 — CUCUTA, Colombia – Venezuela and Ecuador reinforced their borders with Colombia yesterday as the three nations traded increasingly bitter accusations over Colombia’s cross-border strike on a leftist guerrilla base in Ecuador.Rejecting a Colombian apology as insufficient, Ecuador sought international condemnation of the attack during an emergency meeting of the Organization of American States, convened in Washington to help defuse one of South America’s most volatile crises in years.

Venezuela’s justice minister declared that war “has already begun.”

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa called his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Uribe, a “baldfaced liar.”

Uribe demanded the International Criminal Court try Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for genocide.

President Bush accused Chavez of “provocative maneuvers.”

Colombia said documents found at the base showed rebels wanted to make a radioactive dirty bomb.

But the documents it shared with reporters didn’t support the allegation, indicating instead that the rebels were trying to buy uranium to resell at a profit.

Uribe said Chavez should be prosecuted for allegedly financing the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Uribe cited documents in a laptop seized in Reyes’ jungle camp that he said showed Venezuela made a $300 million payment to the rebels.

Both Venezuela and Ecuador dismissed all the allegations as lies.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said the idea of trying Chavez was “laughable.”

At the moment, it’s mostly a war of words, and other nations tried yesterday to keep it that way, although many said Colombia was wrong to send troops into Ecuador.

The Saturday raid killed 24 guerrillas, including rebel spokesman Raul Reyes, who was engaged in hostage talks with Venezuela, France and other countries.

By TOBY MUSE, AP
Source:  NY Post

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