Attempts to Divide Venezuela Will Be Cause For War Says Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned opposition leaders against any attempts to break away from Venezuela on his weekly talk show Aló Presidente on Sunday and warned that any attempts at breaking away would be cause for war.
President Chavez during the 311th edition of his weekly TV program Aló Presidente, broadcasting from Maracaibo, Zulia State. (Alfonso Ocando/Prensa Presidencial)

May 12, 2008 (– Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned opposition leaders against any attempts to break away from Venezuela on his weekly talk show Aló Presidente on Sunday. In light of the recent proposal for autonomy in the oil-rich state of Zulia, President Chavez aired his weekly show from the capital of this state and warned that any attempts at breaking away would be cause for war.

“It would be a cause for war if someone came here and tried to divide up Venezuela,” he said from Maracaibo, state capital of Zulia. Chavez warned opposition leaders that they better “get an army” if they plan on trying to break away from the country.

“I advise those individuals who want to break up Venezuela to think it through very well. We won’t tolerate a political segmentation of our country,” he said, assuring that any such attempts would be met with force.

“It would be war, there would be no other alternative. Venezuela is one country, and it cannot be divided,” he said.

President Chavez referred to the autonomy movement in Zulia as an “imperial plan” designed and supported by the United States to take control of strategic areas of the country where the oil resources are located. He outlined on a map the areas that the opposition would supposedly be trying to take over as a part of this plan, including the states of Zulia, Tachira, Merida, Barinas, and Apure.

“After the elections in November of this year, the coup-mongering opposition wants to declare autonomy in these regions, which is part of the imperial plan,” he warned.

The Venezuelan president has repeatedly voiced his opposition to any secessionist attempts in Venezuela, as well as in other countries, assuring that they are classic imperial strategies to “divide and conquer.”

Chavez has repeatedly expressed his support for the Bolivian government against the recent secessionist attempts in the resource-rich state of Santa Cruz, and he recently expressed support for China in their fight against independence movements in Tibet.

“Their reach goes that far. It’s all a strategy of the (American) empire,” he said in regards to China.

President Chavez also labeled the recent accusations of the Colombian government as a part of the “imperial plan” of the United States to create a conflict between Colombia and Venezuela and prevent the union of Latin American nations.

Officials in Colombia and Washington have claimed that information found on a computer recovered from the FARC guerrilla organization proves that the Venezuelan and Ecuadorian governments have maintained links with the Colombian guerrillas. Last week, Colombian Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Dos Santos also stated to the press that a top FARC guerrilla leader is hiding in Venezuelan territory.

The Venezuelan government has repeatedly denied that they have any ties to the Colombian guerrillas and has accused the Colombian government of falsifying the evidence.

“I challenge the Colombian government to show any proof,” said Chavez on his show yesterday. Venezuelan officials have questioned the validity of Colombia’s claims, insisting that any information found on the computer could have easily been manipulated by the Colombian government.

“They want to use these documents from a computer, which nobody knows where it came from, to accuse me, to accuse Venezuela and Ecuador,” he said.

Chavez challenged Colombian President Alvaro Uribe yesterday to “show some proof, not just these documents.”

Venezuelan government officials have claimed that Colombia might be trying to generate a conflict with Venezuela in order to take the focus off the ongoing “parapolitics” scandal inside Colombia.

Since 2006, many government officials and close allies of President Uribe have been indicted for suspicions of colluding with armed paramilitary forces. As many as 33 lawmakers, and most recently President Uribe’s cousin Mario Uribe Escobar, are currently in jail awaiting trial.

“In any serious, truly democratic country, the government would have already fallen,” said Chavez yesterday. “Over there they really do have proof against them, so much proof that they are putting people in jail,” he said.

Chavez also insisted that the Colombian government was “extremely right-wing” and capable of “playing the games of the empire.” He accused the Colombian President Alvaro Uribe of trying to provoke an armed conflict with the encouragement of the United States.

“The Colombian Government might be trying to provoke a war with Venezuela in order to justify the intervention of the United States,” he warned.

“I want to warn the Venezuelan people, the Armed Forces, the whole continent of the Colombian government’s intention of provoking a war,” he said.