Hugo Chavez: Venezuela preparing to break diplomatic ties with Colombia over US troop plan

Chavez: Venezuela ready to sever ties to Colombia
August 26th, 2009

President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that Venezuela is getting ready to break off diplomatic relations with Colombia over the neighboring country’s plan to give American troops greater access to its military bases.

Chavez said that “there’s no possibility” of repairing relations with the government of President Alvaro Uribe and that he instructed his foreign minister to “begin preparing for the rupture with Colombia.”

“It’s going to happen. Let’s get ready,” he said.

Venezuela and Colombia have been feuding for weeks over the negotiations between Bogota and Washington that would allow the U.S. military to increase its presence at seven Colombian bases through a 10-year lease agreement.

Colombian and U.S. officials say the agreement is necessary to more effectively help Colombia’s security forces fight drug traffickers and leftist rebels.