Colombia’s diplomatic spat with Venezuela took a new turn this week
with a series of billboards in Bogota showing pictures of Hugo Chavez,
the leader of the neighboring country, with his eyes closed.
“Hey!”, the billboards say, “Open your eyes!”
Chavez, a self-styled socialist revolutionary, accuses Colombian
conservative President Alvaro Uribe and the United States of planning
an invasion of Venezuela in a bid to take over the OPEC-member
country’s vast oil reserves.
Both countries dismiss the claim.
Colombian Senator Armando Benedetti, an Uribe loyalist, organized
the publicity campaign to rally Colombians around their government as
South American leaders gather for a summit in Argentina on Friday.
Chavez and leftist Ecuadorean leader Rafael Correa have blasted
Colombia for negotiating a plan with Washington to increase U.S.
military cooperation as part of a long-standing alliance against
cocaine traffickers and Marxist guerrillas.
Correa is also featured on some of the billboards.
Colombia accuses Chavez and Correa of not cooperating in its fight
against drug-running insurgents. Both shun Washington while
strengthening ties with China, Russia and Iran. (Reuters)