Colombia is preparing to attack Venezuela in an operation that will be made to look like its objective is a base of Colombian guerrillas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said
“They say, and many people believe, there are guerrilla bases in our territory supported by the government,” Chavez said, in a speech to troops today that was shown on state television. “They are preparing the terrain to attack Venezuelan territory, simulating an encampment.”
Chavez said Colombia’s military would justify the attack with lies, making reference to a scandal in the neighboring country that came to be known as the “false positives.” Colombia fired at least 27 officers and soldiers a year ago for allegedly killing poor slum-dwellers and dressing them as guerrillas in an attempt to win benefits from the government, prosecutors alleged.
Speaking at Fort Mara in Zulia state, which he said was on “the front line of this battle,” Chavez said “it wouldn’t be strange” for the Colombian military to build some shacks in an improvised camp and put some rifles and propaganda in it.
“And there it is, an encampment in Venezuela,” he said.
“Our government doesn’t support or permit, and won’t support or permit, the presence of any armed forces in our territory except our glorious Bolivarian Armed Forces,” Chavez said.
A spokesman at Colombia’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment. Calls to the Colombian embassy in Caracas today went unanswered.
Steven Bodzin in Caracas can be reached at [email protected]