Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims that political opponents within his nation are supporting Colombian paramilitaries in a plot to take down his socialist government.
Chavez, on his television program, called on the Venezuelan public to fight against those opposed to his government.
“Mayors and governors come along and they support paramilitarism in Colombia. CIA operatives bring Colombian paramilitaries here and plant them in the police, on the land, in drug trafficking. They are mafia,” Chavez declared.
The socialist leader alleged that the Venezuelan opposition wants to overthrow him with the help of criminal groups from other nations.
Diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela are currently frozen after Colombia signed an agreement last year with the U.S. that allows the Americans to use Colombian military bases and civilian airports for counternarcotics and counterterrorism missions.
Colombia’s defense minister, Gabriel Silva, has stated that attempts are being made to renew relations with Venezuela.
Colombian authorities said last Friday said they believe FARC leaders are hiding out in Venezuela, a claim Venezuela denied, calling the accusation a new “provocation” on the part of the Colombian government.