The insecurity on the Venezuela-Colombia border is part of a plan hatched by Bogota and Washington to destabilize Venezuela, the socialist country’s Foreign Minister said Thursday.
“This plan includes trying to destabilize Venezuela by means of violence, hitmen, murders, the increase of crime at the border and in the country’s main cities,” Minister Nicolas Maduro told ABN Thursday.
The Minister believes that Colombian paramilitaries are key in the destabilization plan.
“We have important clues that link the [political] opposition in Venezuela to Colombian paramilitaries,” Maduro said.
Venezuela views the current border instability as part of a larger strategy by U.S to undermine sovereignty in the region. Maduro cited the recent controversial military bases pact signed by Colombia and the U.S – which allows the U.S. access to seven Colombian military bases – as evidence of this strategy.
The Foreign Minister stressed that Venezuela “has a plan in place” and will “defeat any destabilization plan”.
Ties between the Andean countries have frayed over the murders of nine Colombian civilians in Venezuela and accusations from President Hugo Chavez that three Colombian agents were caught spying.
Chavez also threatened to block trade because of his disagreement with a U.S.-Colombian military pact.
The border has long been a reason of friction between the country as both paramilitary and guerrilla fighters from Colombia cross it to escape Colombian authorities and move Colombian-produced cocaine to Venezuela for further transport.
Venezuelan authorities closed the border Tuesday following the deaths of two Venezuelan soldiers near the frontier and Chavez threatened to close it permanently.
Closing the border would further deteriorate the situation for Colombian exporters who already have seen a decrease in income because of the tensions between the two neighboring countries.