Chavez: Colombia plotting to attack Venezuela

Venezuelan president warns Colombia not to attempt "provocation," says Venezuela will cut off oil exports in event of military strike.

Chavez 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Chavez 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
President Hugo Chavez on Friday accused neighboring Colombia and the United States of plotting a military "aggression" against Venezuela. "I accuse the government of Colombia of devising a conspiracy, acting as a pawn of the US empire, of devising a military provocation against Venezuela," Chavez said. "A military aggression is being prepared," Chavez added. He did not offer evidence to support his claim. But he warned Colombia not to attempt a "provocation" and said Venezuela would cut off all oil exports in the event of a military strike from the neighboring country. "In that scenario, write it down: The price of oil would reach US$300, because there wouldn't be oil for anyone," Chavez said. "The invaders would have to step over our dead bodies." Chavez has repeatedly accused Washington of plotting to oust or kill him, though it was the first time he has accused Colombia's US-allied government in such strident terms. He spoke as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Colombia, saying she and two other senior American officials who have visited Bogota recently "came to attack Venezuela" in their remarks. Rice did not mention Chavez during her earlier statements in Colombia. Cesar Mauricio Velasquez, spokesman for Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, said his government had no immediate comment. Chavez predicted that relations with Colombia - which he and Uribe have managed to keep cordial until recently, despite wide ideological differences - "are going to continue deteriorating" and that cross-border trade will suffer.