Chavez Masses Troops at Colombia Border

Leader warns Venezuelans to 'prepare for war'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2009 2:15 AM CST
A Venezuelan soldier stands behind a map showing the deployment of troops along the Colombian border in Cedeno, Venezuela, last week.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
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(Newser) – Hugo Chavez has told the Venezuelan people to "prepare for war" and ordered 15,000 troops to the Colombian border. The leader told his soldiers to "defend this sacred nation called Venezuela," and accused Colombia of conspiring with the US to invade and grab the country's oil reserves. Colombia plans to complain to the UN and the Organization of American States over the threats.

Chavez has been a fierce critic of a recent US-Colombia troops pact which he sees as part of a plot to destabilize his leftist government. Posturing and threats from Chavez are generally so common as to raise little alarm, the Independent notes, but the war of words with Colombia has been accompanied by a rise in violence, including the killing of 11 Colombians near the border last month. Venezuelan officials say the men were paramilitaries training for an invasion, while Colombian authorities say they were members of a soccer team.