The Bailey Mail
March 7, 2008
2008-03-03 The war of words between the U.S. and Venezuela took a step closer to becoming a war of bullets over the past two days. The possibility comes from the fact that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has threatened to declare war on Columbia if the Columbian army enters his country after anti-Columbian Guerrilla’s after Columbia chased the Rebels into Ecuador the day before. The raid was successful in killing one of the rebel group, Farc’s generals.Chavez called the general’s killing a “cowardly murder” and said any similar action into his territory would be seen as a “cause for war”. Along with Chavez’s words go ten tank battalions with air-support, which he swiftly sent to the border with Columbia, along with closing the Columbian embassy in Caracas.
The U.S. has recently been developing a good relationship with Columbia, and U.S. soldiers are in the country trying to assist them in dismantling some of the drug smuggling networks. Though the U.S. has specifically warned Columbia not to enter Venezuela, it is widely thought that if Venezuela does invade Columbia that the U.S. will be drawn into the conflict. On the other hand it is also widely thought that this is just more bum and bluster for a man known for flamboyant but largely empty threats.
One commenter on the Daily Mail online where I read the article believed the move was a deliberate attempt to create tension to push up oil prices, a motive he believes is shared by Iran’s Ahmadinejad. Another commenter wondered how the U.S. could even consider embroiling itself in another conflict when its military is already overstretched.
The overall feeling, including my own is that this is a storm in a teacup that will come to nothing. It is highly unlikely that Columbia will go against the U.S.’ word and enter Venezuela on the tail of rebels. An Argentinean commenter on the same thread warned that if it does come to something the consequences will be drastic for a region beginning to find its feet economically.