President Hugo Chavez’s government said Monday it will investigate to
find out if anti-tank rocket launchers sold to the Venezuelan military
during the 1980s ended up in the hands of Colombia’s largest rebel
Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said authorities had launched “an
internal investigation … to determine the origin and destination of
these weapons,” referring to Swedish-made AT-4 launchers that Colombia
says were found in a cache belonging to guerrillas.
gave no indication, however, that Chavez’s administration was easing
its stance toward Colombia amid a diplomatic fight that erupted last
week after Colombian President Alvaro Uribe complained the weapons had
been acquired by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
recalled his ambassador to Colombia and threatened to sever diplomatic
ties completely, freeze commerce and expropriate Colombian-owned
businesses if Uribe’s government leveled any more accusations against
The socialist leader has suggested the United States
is using Colombia as part of a broader plan to portray him as a
supporter of terrorist groups to provide justification for U.S.
military intervention in Venezuela. Chavez is a virulent critic of U.S.
influence in Latin America.
El Aissami did not offer details
regarding the investigation, but stressed that the rocket launchers
“were acquired by the Venezuelan state 20 years ago, not now.”
“It was not our government,” he added.
has confirmed the bazooka-like weapons originally were sold to
Venezuela’s military and demanded an explanation from the South
American country’s top diplomat in Stockholm. (AP)