The increase in murders and kidnappings in Venezuela is to blame on Colombia and paramilitary fighters coming from that country, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday.
“A large part of the kidnappings and murders that are taking place in different parts of the country is coming from Colombia, from paramilitarism,” Chavez said on his weekly “Alo presidente” radio and television broadcast.
According to the Venezuelan head of state, “yesterday we captured here, in the outskirts of Caracas, a group of persons, foreigners, with buried guns: paramilitaries.” Chavez did not say if the detainees were of Colombian nationality and how many there were.
Chavez warned that Venezuelans that “they are planting paramilitaries in the neighborhoods” of Venezuelan cities.
The Venezuelan President has frequently accused opposition leaders of collaborating with Colombian right-wing paramilitary groups to destabilize his government. Chavez himself is accused of supporting Colombian left-wing guerrillas.