President Hugo Chavez warns he would not hesitate to immediately respond to any Colombian military move violating Venezuelan sovereignty.
“Sadly, and it would hurt me to the bottom of my soul, I would immediately have the Sukhoi fighters fired up and the armored tanks,” said Chavez on Sunday.
His remark came after Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said earlier that his country would follow Colombian rebels even in neighboring countries.
Last year, Colombian forces crossed inside Ecuador’s border on the trail of FARC rebels and killed about 20 people including number-two rebel leader Raul Reyes.
“I am not going to let anyone disrespect Venezuela’s sovereignty for anything in the world,” Chavez said on his weekly television and radio show.
Meanwhile, Chavez called Santos a “threat to the peace in South America” and charged that he hoped to “turn Colombia into the Israel of South America.”
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In his speech, Santos also argued that Colombia had a legitimate right to self-defense that allows it to attack what Colombia sees as “terrorists”.
The Venezuelan president discussed the case with his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe by the phone, urging him to be more cautious in his decisions.
“Well watch out President Uribe with this far rightwing trend, because I don’t even want to think about it crossing Minister Santos’ mind to do the crazy thing in Venezuela you did last year in Ecuador,” said Chavez.
Officials said Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez was set to meet with Chavez in Caracas on Monday.