The March 1 attack briefly raised fears of war in the region when Ecuador and Venezuela responded by ordering troops to their borders with Colombia.Tempers cooled with handshakes at a regional summit a few days later, but Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa is still fuming and has not yet renewed diplomatic ties with his neighbor.Colombia on Sunday said the bombing raid on a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp inside Ecuadorean territory was justified because the rebels had used it to launch terrorist attacks.”It has cost us plenty to get back on the path of good relations. We don’t want a new escalation of tensions between us,” Chávez said during the inauguration of a hospital near the border with Colombia.”But these declarations immediately cause tension, they tense relations with Venezuela, with Ecuador, with neighboring countries.”Chávez berated Colombia’s defense minister, whom he called a “spokesman for war,” and said Colombia’s conservative President Álvaro Uribe should tell his cabinet not to make inflammatory comments.”For the love of god, President Uribe, don’t allow this, the government of Colombia is in your hands, send a message to the spokesmen of war,” he told a cheering crowd.On Sunday, Colombia said an Ecuadorean had died in the attack on the rebel camp, which also killed No. 2 FARC rebel leader Raúl Reyes and more than 20 others.Ecuador’s attorney general responded by saying the government was considering trying Colombian officials in international courts for their part in the attack.Reyes was the first member of FARC’s secretariat to be killed in decades-old civil war. Uribe’s popularity at home shot to a record 82 percent after the raid although most Latin American countries joined Ecuador in condemning the attack.Uribe, Washington’s top U.S. ally in South America, has accused Ecuador and Venezuela of doing too little to help combat the FARC.The rebels hold hundreds of kidnap victims including three U.S. defense contractors and French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.Piedad Córdoba, a senator who helped broker the release of six hostages earlier this year, said the March 1 attack dashed hope of any more releases while Uribe is in power.
Colombia Reports relies on your financial support. Please become our patron and support independent reporting from Colombia.