Languages
Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:22 UK

Venezuela-Colombia spat: Your reaction

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (L) and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe
The Venezuelan and Colombian leaders have been upping the tension

Tensions have increased further between Venezuela and Colombia in recent days over Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's decision to allow US troops to use his country's military bases.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has warned that "the winds of war were beginning to blow" across the region.

Colombia says it needs US support to tackle drug lords and left-wing rebels.

Here, readers in Venezuela, Colombia and the US react to the ever-worsening crisis in the region.

VENEZUELA

From BBCMundo.com: Chavez represents the interests of the people who have been exploited and looted for decades. Uribe represents the international right, and was put in his post to perpetuate the US's policy of domination. On the surface, the US and Colombia are fighting drug trafficking but, in the end, they both make gains from the drug trade.
Alberto Jose Gomez Briceno, Caracas, Venezuela

From BBCMundo.com: You can't blame President Chavez for Colombia's woes. It is very sad, but their internal war has been going on for 40 years and Chavez was not in power when it started. For Venezuelans it is a real disgrace to have them as neighbours, as our country invests a lot of money to fight drug trafficking. This money should be used to improve the living conditions of Venezuelans instead.
Cruz, Venezuela

From BBCMundo.com: In Venezuela we will be affected by the proximity of US troops. This is a direct challenge to our democratic process. Colombia's internal war should be a domestic problem, but the upper classes that dominate that country from colonial times have turned their land into a "yankee" protectorate, only to preserve their own interests. The real horror in Colombia is poverty and social inequity.
Carlos Azuaje, San Cristobal, Venezuela

Colombia has a long history of violence, wars and drugs. Venezuela traditionally didn't have these, but they are being exported from Colombia. Venezuela would like nothing better than an end to the war and the drug trade in Colombia. Unfortunately, the ties of the Uribe government, his party and the Colombian military to the paramilitaries and the drug trade have been well documented in Colombia.

With this history, it's hard to believe that the Colombian government is interested in stopping the war, or halting the drug trade. The Chavez government is far from perfect, but doesn't approach the nefarious crimes of the Uribe government, and the coverage is therefore extremely disproportionate.
Howard Takiff, Caracas, Venezuela

My guess is that Chavez is making another show to divert attention from the country's unhappiness over the anti-democratic action of the closing of 20 radio stations. As the last time, he just likes to bark and knows he can't bite because Colombia has more teeth.
Paul, Pampatar, Venezuela

I believe in Bolivarianism, and as such I see Colombia's wishes to permit the establishment of seven military bases in Colombia as a real menace. Historically, the empires have been trying to access Venezuela's natural resources. In the past the British took Trinidad and Guyana to control Orinoco's estuary. Similarly, now the US, through Colombia, is doing the same thing in search of the great oil, water, iron, gold, diamonds and other mineral reserves that exist in Venezuela.
Jhon Mannerland, Caracas, Venezuela

Chavez is always creating conflicts in order to divert attention from the real problems that affect him.
MBC, Caracas, Venezuela

Same old, same old. I wish Chavez would focus his attention on other pressing issues such as the levels of criminality here and the prices of everything, including food, because I think I speak for most Venezuelans when I say that these problems are very dire. It would also be nice if he'd stop meddling with the economy because the more he messes with it, the more damage he is doing to us.
Sandra, Caracas, Venezuela

Again, President Chavez is making lots of noise with no substance. Venezuelan and Colombians are aware that this row has only one source, Hugo Chavez. He is a terribly charismatic spokesperson, but he has no idea what he is saying. It's very unfortunate. No one here understands what he is doing, besides getting big contracts for his inner circle of people.

It's not about being against the US, it's not about "giving power to the people", it's about his collaborators making money. I think Colombia has shown how serious they are about eliminating the guerrillas that have plagued the country for decades. It's their problem if they want to let the US into some of their military bases. I think Colombia has no interest in harming Venezuela. It makes no sense to anyone, except Chavez, that is.
J Raydan, Caracas, Venezuela

Diversion tactics are a well worn tool used by people in power. Picking on your neighbour is another one. The bottom line here is that Chavez's huffing and puffing is not solving the problems in his own country, which, unless the oil price rises dramatically, will mean a continual decline in living standards for his countrymen. That is the story here, along with inflation at over 30% currently. Hence, he will continue to huff and puff!
Ivor Aura Williams, Caracas, Venezuela

We need imports from Colombia, and they need our exports. Chavez should not say anything about the policies of other countries because he dislikes when others comment on his. Reciprocity. He is buying tanks, helicopters, guns. But why, if we have never been in war? Chavez is the one that is creating the tensions.
Aldemaro, Caracas, Venezuela

COLOMBIA

From BBCMundo.com: As a Colombian, I am deeply annoyed to see my country becoming the "useful fool" of US interests. Which interests? To stop Latin America taking charge of its own destiny, for one. But the will of the people is waking up and acting against exploitation and injustice. The US just wants to impose its interests on the whole world. I admire all the leaders who have opposed this: Castro, Chavez, Correa, Evo Morales, Ortega. I hope millions of others will join them.
Bertha Polo, Bogota, Colombia

Chavez's agenda in the region is to have puppet governments reporting to him, like Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua (Honduras already refused him). A US presence in Colombia not only affects these plans but also spoils Farc's drug production and routes to smuggle them out of Venezuela. These events tend to only get worse and Chavez will look for any excuse to attack Colombia.
Paulo Emilio Corregidor, Bogota, Colombia

Chavez has a secret agenda. I don't really think we'll go to war because of our alliance with US but you never know. It's unfortunate that our neighbours would sell out for cheap barrels of oil. Hopefully the US will step in tom prevent war.
David Rojas, Bogota, Colombia

I think Chavez has become more of a dictator than the president of a democratic country. His politics is turning Venezuela into a new Cuba. Many Venezuelans have moved to Colombia to start over because they see Venezuela as too troubled to live in. From an economic point of view, Colombia seems really affected by Chavez's decisions. However, Venezuela itself is equally or worse affected, taking into consideration that more than 40% of the total population is in poverty.
John Medina, Bogota, Colombia

Although Mr Chavez is used to making a lot of noise and in the end never does anything, the current issue has a deeper significance to him as he feels threatened. The bilateral relations will continue to deteriorate. This is just the continuation of a series of frictions coming from both sides. In Colombia, Chavez left a negative impression when he approved a statue of Farc leader "sure-shot", this makes Colombians believe he could be sponsoring the terrorist group.

Uribe's aggressive behaviour against opposition figures and poor human rights record make him unpopular not only in Venezuela, but across Latin America. I believe this time the fraternal and economic ties between many Venezuelans and Colombians are not going to stop the damage these antagonistic yet similar presidents have made to the otherwise "sibling republics".
Franz, Bogota, Colombia

I believe that Chavez at a certain point is going to lose self-control and will begin a military conflict. In any case, I think he is hiding something and is afraid it will be made public. Otherwise, he would not be acting up as he is now.
Juan, Bogota, Colombia

The row is serious due to President Chavez's antagonism of any country like Colombia with a more liberal pragmatism as opposed to the socialist ideology of Chavez. In the last such incident, involving Ecuador, President Uribe of Colombia defused a nasty situation by refusing to respond in kind when Chavez sent troops to the border. The current row is more serious and we should assume that Chavez will continue to try to destabilise the Uribe government and future Colombian governments through threatened or actual trade embargos.

He will do this even if they adversely affect Venezuela and probably through covert support for the the left wing guerrilla groups in Colombia. His antagonism to the new US bases in Colombia indicates how much a US presence would disrupt his plans. We must remember that he is driven by a hatred of the US in all its forms and leaders driven by hatred are always unpredictable and dangerous.
Thomas Ian Ross, Armenia, Colombia

What many people outside of Colombia don't appreciate is that for many years Colombia has been held hostage by the Farc and other paramilitaries. Uribe has confronted them directly through strong military action, a response that many outside of Colombia consider to be a "right-wing" approach and too militaristic.

The reality is that Uribe is striving to achieve a truly democratic state whilst surrounded by would-be despots like Chavez and Correa. Chavez is worried because 'Uribism' threatens his ability to remain president of Venezuela, along with his side-kicks, for many years to come while he hides under the banner of "socialist revolution". The people of Colombia are tired of the Farc, tired of narco-traffickers and tired of Chavez!
Tim, Bogota, Colombia

Mr Chavez has not addressed seriously his nation nor the world. But it's clear enough that the Colombian government had prepared these two scandals (Farc's presumed support for Ecuador's Correa and Venezuela's presumed support for Farc) to distract the Colombian opinion about the newly US-operated Colombian military bases. We also have to take into account the fact that next year we will have presidential elections in Colombia, so those kind of scandals are naturally predictable.
Christian Jimenez, Bogota, Colombia

It is clear that Chavez's goal is to expand his Bolivarian revolution to all of Latin America. Farc is instrumental in this process. Chavez himself acknowledges this group as legitimate and it is no secret that they can move freely in Venezuela. The question is, when will other Latin American countries realise the threat that Farc pose for the whole continent?
Emma Ortiz, Bogota, Colombia

USA

I believe, both as a Colombian national and a US citizen, that President Chavez is only interested in making Colombia weak for his own purposes. The US presence in Colombia is a perfect opportunity for President Chavez to brainwash South American nations about "yankee imperialism", while in the meantime expecting the US will leave Colombia vulnerable to a Venezuelan invasion.
Victor Florez, Concord, New Hampshire, USA

There is no substance at all in Chavez's Bolivarian rationale. Besides oil, his main weapons are threats and insults. Venezuela is not a self-sustainable country and needs Colombia. No war can be anticipated because it would be a disaster for the Venezuelan people, who would suffer serious shortages, such as basic food imports. Worse still, Colombia's highly trained and disciplined army would finish off Chavez's ambitions.
Emiro A Rojas, Houston, Texas, USA

It's clear that the United States would love to have an excuse to attack Venezuela. It will do anything it can to bring about war between the two countries so it can leap to defend "freedom" in Columbia and have an opportunity to attack and ultimately invade Venezuela and get their oil resources.

Undoubtedly the CIA is working overtime to assure this scenario of events. It has successfully been using interference with democratically elected governments in South America for years. The US wants only right wing dictatorships in South America so its capitalist corporations can get the resources of these countries in return for military support of the governments.
Dale Hemming, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

Chavez is well on the road to becoming an absolute dictator. It won't be much longer before he has gained full control, and cannot be removed.
Rick McDaniel, Lewisville, Texas, USA

As long as Colombia's neighbours remain populist and authoritarian leaders committed to the Socialism of the 21st century, there will not be peace in the region. Since all populist leaders are admirers of Fidel Castro, they view politics as confrontational. Their anti-Americanism is used as a ploy to promote class warfare so they can stay in power at any cost. Unlike these leaders, President Uribe is a statesman. He appeals to reason and moderation to try to solve complex social issues. Only time will tell who is on the right side.
Vicente Medina, South Orange, New Jersey, USA



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Alarm at US-Colombia troops plan
10 Aug 09 |  Americas
Colombia 'incursion' riles Chavez
10 Aug 09 |  Americas
Venezuela returns Colombia envoy
08 Aug 09 |  Americas
Uribe and Lula discuss base use
07 Aug 09 |  Americas
Chavez fumes at neighbour Colombia
06 Aug 09 |  Americas
Uribe tours region over US pact
04 Aug 09 |  Americas
Colombia's rocky regional relations
30 Jul 09 |  Americas

RELATED BBC LINKS


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific