Mérida, November 19th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Following Colombia’s announcement last Friday that members of the Venezuelan National Guard had been captured in Colombian territory and would be returned to Venezuela, Venezuelan National Guard General Oralando Mijares responded that the four men were actually intercepted in international waters. Subsequently, Colombia accused Venezuela of illegally blowing up two border bridges.
The men deported by Colombia to Venezuela last Saturday “were detained by the Colombian military forces in the Meta River,” Mijares said.
The Meta River is an 800km long tributary river of the Orinoco River, located in Colombian territory, with its final part defining the border with Venezuela.
“This goes against an entire treaty around the demarcation of borders and navigation of rivers endorsed by both governments, [a treaty] that is current, and that refers to the right to free navigation of the rivers that separate the two countries,” Mijares explained on Venezuelan Television (VTV).
Since then, Colombian Defence Minister Gabriel Silva denounced that Venezuela had supposedly violated international law by blowing up two bridges. He said the Venezuelan National Guard had “arrived in trucks from the Venezuelan side” and destroyed “bridges that united communities from both sides of the border, bridges constructed by the communities themselves, and the guards proceeded to dynamite them from the Venezuelan side to affect the everyday life of the local population.”
Venezuelan Vice President Ramon Carrizalez responded on Thursday, saying the action had been taken in order to “destroy crossings constructed especially for drug trafficking,” and that the National Guard’s action was not illegal.
“Any bridge, be it improvised, used to enter or exit a country without complying with agreements that govern such things, is considered illegal,” said Carrizalez. He claimed that Colombia was generating such “alarm” to distract international attention from “the real problem that afflicts this country, which is the construction of the seven U.S military bases.”
Colombia and the U.S signed a pact on 30 October allowing the U.S military access to seven military bases in Colombia and granting immunity to U.S personnel, a pact which caused tensions to escalate between Venezuela and Colombia.
Just previous to that, on 27 October, Chavez also announced that Colombian security agents had been captured in Valencia, a city near the capital Caracas. The Venezuelan government accused the agents of spying and deported them back to Colombia.
Chavez denounced that the U.S military bases would be used for spying and for planning “acts of war right under our noses.”