Uribe slams Hugo Chavez during trip to Venezuelan border

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe accused Venezuelan head of state Hugo Chavez of trying to procure surface-to-air missiles for the FARC on Sunday.

During a two-day tour of the Colombia-Venezuela border region, Colombia’s ex-leader crusaded against the Chavez administration’s “trampling of democratic values and protection of terrorism.”

If the FARC did manage to obtain surface-to-air weaponry it could be a game-changer in the Colombian conflict, as the government’s ability to carry out airstrikes has been a major advantage.

Chavez has long been accused of harboring FARC guerrillas. Most recently, reports surfaced that members of the FARC’s top command, the Secretariat, often stayed at the estate of Adan Chavez, the president’s brother.

Uribe also pointed to the recent sharp increase in Venezuelan crime as proof of Chavez’s failures — murders in the capital, Caracas, jumped 72% in the first half of 2012. The city is now one of the world’s most violent, with 1,934 murders in the first half of 2012.

The former Colombian head of state has been a vocal supporter of presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who will oppose Chavez in Venezuela’s October elections.

In late June, Colombian ex-senator Piedad Cordoba gave an interview with Venezuelan state television in which she lambasted Capriles for enjoying the support of Uribe and of Colombian companies with suspected paramilitary ties.

Uribe denied accusations that he had been meddling in Venezuelan politics, claiming, “We are not interfering in politics, we do not support any candidate, we are not in anyone’s campaign.”

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