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On a shortsighted view of success: the spill over of Plan Colombia, or Plan Venezuela 200X?

By Pedro Mario Burelli | PMBComments

Washington 24.09.05 | The ostensible success of U.S. bankrolled Plan Colombia continues to have disastrous consequences on Venezuela. Day after day stories reach us about Colombia's purveyors of violence simply changing their domicile, with Venezuela as their favorite destination. The problem is of such scale that we can conclude that today's much trumpeted success in Colombia will simply herald tomorrow's failure and chaos in Venezuela. It is time that those of us, who are seeking to rid ourselves of an undemocratic and corrupt government that is ruining our country, demand from Colombia and the U.S. more transparency in their actions before they throw us headfirst into a confrontation of indefinite scale and uncertain outcome.

While wholeheartedly behind President Uribe's efforts to regain control –once and for all - of his beleaguered nation, pushing the problem across the frontier is no solution, and we should say so as loud as possible. Reports of repeated incursions into Venezuelan territory by elements of the Colombian Army can be explained – though they are hard to swallow - given Chávez's absolute connivance with the FARC and ELN, but let's keep in mind that Venezuela is a country that can hardly deal with its own crisis. Fatally weakened by an unrelenting institutional demolition derby nothing stands in the way of guerillas and drug traffickers, except of course 25 million Venezuelans that have a right to know what the hell is going on.

It is time that President Uribe talks openly – and with proof in hand - about Hugo Chávez's duplicitous behavior. Taking unilateral action is putting all of Venezuela at even graver risk and that is certainly not a right that he has. It is understandable that President Uribe might fear unmasking Chávez in public, but it is unacceptable that he continue to pursue a reckless course behind our backs, and in our territory, just because he knows that Chávez, caught with his hands in the jar, must remain silent while he readies an adequate response. PMB

PS: a little noticed article on Colombian violence's spill over into Venezuela appeared in the Washington Times this week. It is well worth a read, particularly the very candid assessment by the regional representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). (see "Colombian violence spills over").

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