Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday said that the origin of Venezuela’s soaring crime rates lies in Colombia and is orchestrated by the United States.
According to the socialist president, who has blamed Colombia for his country’s murders and kidnapping before, Venezuelan security forces have been infiltrated by illegal armed groups. This infiltration, Chavez says, is part of a destabilization strategy by the U.S. carried out through Colombian paramilitary forces.
“The United States, Colombia and all illegal groups, paramilitaries and criminals, infiltrate Venezuela to kill and kidnap people to then say that Chavez can’t pull it off,” the Venezuelan head of state said on national television.
To confront this alleged sabotage of his government, Chavez said Cuba is assisting Venezuela in improving security.
“Cuba has helped us a lot with security when it comes to analyzing and evaluating and to be better prepared, because our armed forces and security agencies are infiltrated by the empire [the U.S.], the drug trade and the mafia,” Chavez said.
Chavez, a fierce critic of the U.S. and its foreign policy, froze relations with Colombia after the latter signed a pact with the U.S. that would allow the Americans to use Colombian military bases and airports for military operations. Venezuela considers this pact a threat to the region and specifically the Chavez-aligned governments.