Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez is “out of focus” to equate
the presence of U.S. military bases in Colombia with the cooperative
relations Venezuela has with Russia and China, Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez said Wednesday.
“The relationship of all Latin American countries, including Colombia, with Russia and China is very different from the relations the United States are developing [with Colombia],” Chavez said in a speech broadcast by state-owned channel Venezolana de Television.
The Venezuelan president recalled that Bermudez rejected the concern of Venezuela by the presence of U.S. military bases in Colombia, arguing that the Colombian government did not say anything when the Russian navy conducted maneuvers in the Venezuelan Caribbean.
“As far as I know Colombia has excellent relations with Russia and I understand that Russia has not supported any coup in Colombia or actions against the Colombian government,” Chavez said.
“But we have many reasons to consider the U.S. government as a threat of invasion, of regicides … of drug trafficking, of intelligence and counter intelligence,” the Venezuelan president added.
Chavez argued that the danger does not only come from the United States but also from Israel.
The politician referred to the accident of an Israeli Kfir plane three days ago in Cartagena. “Now there are Israeli planes with Israeli pilots flying in Colombia. This has forced us to review our entire relations. That is why we suspended the meeting of high officials … because we consider this an unfriendly act,” Chavez said.
Relations between Colombia and Venezuela worsened after Colombia announced to allow the U.S. to use airbases on its territory and increase anti-drug trafficking cooperation. Chavez has always been very critical of U.S. influence in Latin America and blames the U.S. government of being behind a 2002 coup that had him ousted from his country’s Presidency for three days.