Colombia and Venezuela on the Verge of a Diplomatic Conflict

Bogota accuses Caracas of helping rebel groups escaping from Armed Forces through the common border

While President Chavez keeps on searching for a responsible of the attack to the Colombia's Consulate in Caracas, the Government of Alvaro Uribe handles reports that may prove cooperation between Venezuela and the FARC. The Administrative Security Department of Colombia (DAS) said that was after information about rebel groups illegally crossing the Venezuelan border to avoid Security Forces.

The Colombian department of Arauca is an area badly controlled by the Government and has the longest border with Venezuela. According with these reports, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Liberation National Army (ELN) usually find shelter in the Venezuelan State of Arupe.

In declarations to the Spanish Press Agency EFE, DAS' Chief in Arauca, Hugo Hernan Jimenez, said that FARC's forces "permanently" crossed the border with Venezuela. Also, other official sources confirmed that this was a normal procedure after guerrilla's actions in the area.

Colombia's President, Alvaro Uribe, had complained last week on the lack of cooperation from neighbor to fight insurgency. In turn, Chavez warned Colombia he might break off diplomatic ties if Uribe insisted in the accusations.

After Chavez warnings, an explosion rocked the Colombia's Consulate in Caracas, but the Government repudiated the actions. Bogota did not complain to its neighbor for the action, but surely expects a clear explanation on what happened.

Both countries share a 2,219 kilometers mountainous border very difficult to control. Colombian rebel groups, mostly the FARC, get benefited from the hard terrain to operate safely.

Last Saturday, Colombia's and Venezuela's Security Forces uncovered, during a joint operation, a truck carrying 1.5 tons of explosives; the cargo was to be used by the FARC to blow up a bridge. Also, Venezuela delivered four Colombian citizens presumably connected with the bombing attack to a nightclub in Bogota.

Alvaro uribe thanked the attitude of the Venezuelan authorities, but asked for more cooperation to fight guerrilla's warfare. However, if Colombia's intelligence services find connections between Chavez and the rebel groups, the political temperature will quickly rise between the left wing Venezuela and the far right wing Government of Colombia.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo (El Paнs de Cali): Alvaro Uribe (left) and Hugo Chavez (right the relations between both countries were still in good shape.