Venezuela puts army on high alert, closes Colombia embassy
CARACAS, March 2 (Xinhua)
Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, on Sunday formally ordered the nation’s armed forces to be on high alert, the closure of Venezuela’s embassy in Colombia and the mobilization of the nation’s armed forces to the Colombia border.
“We are at a state of alertness. I am putting Venezuela on alert and we will support Ecuador,” Chavez told his regular Sunday broadcast Alo Presidente. “Defense minister: move 10 battalions to the Colombia-Venezuela border. Tank battalions, military aircraft: deploy!” he ordered.
During the same broadcast, Chavez strongly condemned the killing of Luis Edgar Devia, better known by the alias Raul Reyes, who was the de facto foreign minister for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), that nation’s largest armed rebel group.
The Colombian army killed Devia in Ecuadorian territory. Ecuador responded with a protest letter sent via diplomatic channels.
Colombia says it kills FARC commander in Ecuador
BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s military said on Saturday its troops had killed a top rebel commander in an attack on a jungle camp across the border in Ecuador in a severe blow to Latin America’s oldest guerrilla insurgency.
Raul Reyes, one of seven members of the secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was killed in an operation that included air strikes and fighting with rebels across the border, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said.
Reyes was considered by analysts to be the No. 2 FARC commander and is the most senior member of the group to be killed in President Alvaro Uribe’s U.S.-backed campaign against the guerrillas fighting a more than four-decade-old conflict.
“We have taken another step toward defeating the celebrity of bloody terrorism, which 50 years ago was ideological, but today is a terrorism of mercenaries and drug traffickers,” Uribe said in a national television broadcast.
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