Yesterday, while addressing a press conference, ex-president Alvaro Uribe of Colombia said that he “lacked time” as his presidential term came to an end to fulfil his desire of a military intervention into Venezuela.

Uribe was president of Colombia from 7 August 2002 to 7 August 2010, and he claimed he uncovered Colombian FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia) camps in Venezuela in July 2010.

We had new proof of [Colombian] guerrilla camps in Venezuela. We had three options; denounce them, stay quiet... and the other option was a military operation in Venezuela, I lacked the time,” he said.

President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has said on numerous occasions and that there are no FARC camps in Venezuela. However, he has denounced Colombian paramilitary activity in the country.

Uribe told the press yesterday that he had then “denounced” the supposed presence of Colombian rebels in Venezuela to the Organisation of American States (OAS) and to president elect Juan Santos. The “proof” he showed to the OAS consisted of maps taken off the internet. The coordinates he gave for the supposed camps also ultimately corresponded to Colombian territory.

After this, the Venezuelan government broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia, with Chavez saying, “It is with tears in my heart that I announce that we will break all relations with Colombia. We have no other choice, for our dignity and our sovereignty”. The Venezuelan and Colombian governments resumed relations when Santos took office.

Venezuelan national assembly legislator Earle Herrera said today on state television that it wasn’t a lack of time that stopped a Colombian military incursion, “it was the firm stance taken by the Venezuelan government that avoided this war... because they [the Uribe government] had more than enough time; they had the desire to do it and the support”.

During a late-night press conference today, Chávez weighed-in on Uribe’s admission that he wanted to invade Venezuelan territory, saying, "He [Uribe] did not lack time, what he lacked was balls!"

The national assembly has also voted to reject Uribe’s comments, with legislator Pedro Carreno arguing that the comments only aim to "create a climate of destabilisation in the country, as we draw close to the elections...Uribe is part of the international reactionary right wing who never cease in their eagerness to create conditions to generate violence".

Uribe has been openly supporting the opposition candidate in Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election campaign, Henrique Capriles, although Capriles himself has publically tried to distance himself from the Colombian ex-president. However, last month Uribe met with prominent leaders of the opposition coalition MUD in the city of Cucuta, in Colombia near the Venezuelan border, and openly criticised Chavez to the press, calling him a “dictator”.

Source: Venezuela Analysis