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VenEconomy : Headed for the precipice

 

 

The border zone with Colombia has become a hotbed of violence, the like of which Venezuela has rarely experienced before.

Even more serious is the fact that it has been the Chávez administration that has persistently put the torch to incendiary situations in the interests of expanding its political project in the region, regardless of the disastrous consequences that this is having for the country and, in particular, for the inhabitants of these border areas.

The policy of confrontation that Venezuela has been implementing against Colombia has affected agribusiness and trade in both countries, to mention just two sectors. On the trade front, for example, there have been several confrontations, from the first conflict involving the transshipment of merchandise on the border in the early days of Chávez’s first term in office, to Chávez’s decision to withdraw Venezuela from the Andean Community of Nations, the inventing of a thousand and one obstacles for interrupting the free flow of trade over the border, to the point that, today, there is an undeclared embargo on imports from Colombia.

Although Colombia and Venezuela have broken off relations several times in the past ten years, nothing had come of it until now due, among other factors, to the savvy use of diplomatic channels by the Álvaro Uribe administration. Now, however, it seems that diplomacy will not be able to provide a retaining dike and things could get out of control.

According to El Universal this Wednesday, Colombia’s former peace advisor Lázaro Vivero is of the opinion that “the friction between the two governments transcends the political and the economic and is headed for a situation of warlike tension.” He maintains that Colombian-Venezuelan relations “are so delicate that anything could happen.”

The current situation on the border is red hot, with accusations and claims of espionage from both sides and grave incidents of violence that have claimed dozens of lives.

Continuing with its policy of supporting the continent’s anti-democratic forces, the Venezuelan Government has maintained its proclivity for championing the “cause” of Colombian narco-terrorist groups such as the FARC and the ELN.

According to analysts and accusations by the Colombian Government, Venezuela under Chávez has not only permitted members of these groups to use Venezuelan territory as a safe haven, but it has also allowed these groups to use it as a base of operations. Besides that, the authorities have applauded the emergence of the home-grown guerrilla group known as the Bolivarian Liberation Forces or FNL. All this has led, tragically, to the proliferation of kidnappings and contract killings in Barinas, Táchira, Zulia, and even the central-western states, two scourges that, a decade ago, were practically unknown in Venezuela, and that today are an everyday occurrence.

Unfortunately, the Venezuelan Government, far from working with the local governments to address and put a brake on this violent situation, has done quite the opposite by maintaining an attitude of belligerence and confrontation with the governors of Táchira and Zulia, two of the country’s major border states, and doing everything it can to hinder and sabotage their efforts to govern. Chávez’s confrontation with former Governor Manuel Rosales –whom he threatened with political death and subjected to a trial on spurious charges that prompted Rosales to flee into exile- is a matter of public record. Now, this week he has started to attack Governor César Pérez Vivas, who, according to statements made by Chávez himself this week, will also be forced to leave the country.

Yet again it is being proved that hegemony, expansionism, abuse of power, impunity, repression, and political discrimination prepare the ground for inflaming the passions of peoples and pushing their nations over the edge.

VenEconomy has been a Venezuela's leading specialized publisher on financial, political and economic data since 1982. VenEconomy's Points of View on the issues of the day, as seen by VenEconomy during the last week. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.

Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by VeneEconomy on 11/04/2009. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers .

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Petroleumworld News 11/10/09

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