[Marxism] As Chavez warms up to Colombia, Ecuador refuses to mend ties
sabocat59 at mac.com
Mon Jul 14 09:04:34 MDT 2008
Posted on Sun, Jul. 13, 2008
As Chávez warms up to Colombia, Ecuador refuses to mend ties
BY CHRIS KRAUL AND MERY MOGOLLON
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa angrily declined Saturday to
follow the example of his ally on the South American left, Venezuelan
leader Hugo Chávez, in mending tattered relations with Colombia.
''Our sovereignty has been trampled on, and we have been
disrespected,'' Correa said during his Saturday radio show in
Ecuador's capital, Quito. He had no interest in restoring normal ties
with Colombia, led by conservative President Alvaro Uribe, until
there was a government, he said, ``worthy of talking to.''
Relations between the neighbors have been strained since Colombia
mounted an attack in Ecuadorean territory in March that killed
leftist Colombian rebel leader Raul Reyes. Ecuador and Venezuela
rushed troops to their borders with Colombia, sparking the region's
worst crisis in years.
After the raid, Colombia claimed that electronic files recovered from
Reyes' computers indicated that Chávez was aiding the rebels and
allowing the insurgents to use western Venezuela as a haven. Chávez
denied the allegations.
Chávez and Uribe met Friday in the western Venezuelan refining town
of Paraguana and, in Chavez's words, ''turned the page'' on poor
Chavez said he also would like Uribe's help in fighting drug
trafficking. Uribe proposed a new railroad to connect the two countries.
Diplomatic problems are in neither Chávez's nor Uribe's interest.
For Uribe, Colombian trade with Venezuela is too important to risk.
''Political difficulties shouldn't be confused with the nation's
needs,'' Uribe adviser Jose Obdulio Gaviria told the Bogota newspaper
Chávez's allies face local and state elections in November, and polls
show that most Venezuelans don't like his stated admiration for
Colombia's largest rebel group, known by its Spanish acronym FARC.
More than one million Colombians live in Venezuela, many of them
registered to vote.
Chávez recently called on the FARC to release the 700 or more
hostages it still holds, a sign he is softening his support of the
Chávez said he would try during a visit to Ecuador this week to
persuade Correa to seek a rapprochement with Uribe.
But Correa said Saturday that he was having no part of it, that he
had taken offense at Colombia's portrayal of his country as an
''accomplice and staging area'' for the FARC.
Los Angeles Times staff writer Kraul reported from Bogota and special
correspondent Mogollon from Caracas, Venezuela.
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