The US Sept. 12 announced it will expel the Venezuelan ambassador, and declared that Venezuela’s top two intelligence officials have supported “narco-terrorist activities” in the region. The Treasury Department accused the intelligence officials of aiding Colombia’s FARC, “even as it terrorized and kidnapped innocents.” In response, Venezuela’s Exterior Minister Nicolás Maduro said in a statement that “Venezuela has decided to submit its entire relations with the United States to an intense review process.”
The Treasury Department accused Venezuela’s military intelligence chief Gen. Hugo Carvajal of protecting FARC drug shipments through the country. The Department also said that Gen. Henry Rangel Silva, director of the DISIP (Intelligence and Prevention Services Directorate), “materially assisted” the FARC’s drug trafficking activities and pushed for greater cooperation between the Venezuelan government and the rebels. The Department also named a third official, Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, who resigned as interior minister this week, as the Venezuelan government’s main weapons contact for the FARC. (NYT, Sept. 13)
The day after the US announcement, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez observed military exercises with planes dropping bombs and commandos resisting a mock invasion. The maneuvers in southern Bolívar state featured Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets, ground troops, patrol boats and helicopters that fired rockets at targets. Chávez wore fatigues and a red beret as he observed the exercises from the shore of a lake. An announcer on state TV said troops from a fictional “red country” were fighting a mock “war of resistance” against the invading force of a “blue country.” (AP, Sept. 13)
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Venezuelan President Hugo
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to expel the U.S. ambassador in a dispute over drug-trafficking that could worsen already frayed ties between the South American nation and its biggest oil customer.
Chavez, who spars with the United States over everything from oil prices and free trade to democracy, has made similar threats before without following through on them.
This time, he was responding to U.S. criticism that Venezuela should do more to stop cocaine flowing through the country from neighboring Colombia, the world’s No. 1 exporter of the drug.
Chavez ended formal anti-drugs work with the United States in 2005 and refuses to renew a cooperation accord.
‘We are not going to accept interference in our internal affairs,’ Chavez said on his weekly TV program on Sunday. ‘If you violate international norms, then you would have to leave this country … You might have to grab your suitcases and get out of Venezuela, so choose your words more carefully your excellency, Mr. Ambassador.’
Although Venezuela does cooperate with other countries against illegal narcotics, the country has become an increasingly important transit route for drug-traffickers in recent years.
Last week, White House drug czar John Walters complained that the amount of cocaine passing through Venezuela had increased almost fivefold in the last four years.
Chavez dismissed him as ‘stupid.’
The leftist president usually responds to foreign criticism of his government with tough rhetoric. His threat on Sunday also came at the start of election campaigning, when he typically is more willing to lash out at critics abroad.
In November, Chavez’s allies face elections in regional votes across the country where his party could lose key posts.
Submited by : Libros Gratis