Colombia fled a formal complaint against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with the Organization of American States, accusing the populist leader of interfering in domestic affairs
Tensions are high between the neighbouring countries over a Colombian plan to allow United States forces more access to its military bases. Chavez is a bitter critic of Washington and Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe is the US staunchest ally in the region.
The OAS complaint came after Chavez described Colombia as a narco-state, ordered investigations of Colombian companies in Venezuela and urged his Socialist party supporters to reach out to left-leaning Colombians and politicians to help combat the Colombian oligarchy, following the “Bolivarian revolution model”
Colombia's ambassador to the OAS, Luis Hoyos, denounced what his government saw as an interventionist plan by Chavez. This project violates the fundamental principles of relations between states, Hoyos said in an address to the OAS session in Washington.
Chavez said in a televised speech on Wednesday he would continue to speak out against the bases plan. We are obliged to use all our efforts to ensure our voice and our true ideas reach the Colombian people in the face of this barrage of lies.
It is not expansionism to speak our truth. Only the Colombian people will decide its destiny but the Colombian people have the right to know the truth.
Chavez said that “those seven military bases are a declaration of war” adding that US access to the Colombian bases formed part of a “strategic plan” to “dominate” South America.
The Venezuelan president sees the base plan as US imperialist aggression and has taken economic measures against his neighbour, including ending a deal to supply cheap fuel and threatening Colombian imports.
Chavez late on Tuesday warned he could cut off diplomatic ties with Colombia over the bases proposal and is expected to try to rally opposition to it at the Unasur summit on Friday in Argentina.