domingo, 21 de marzo de 2010

Colombia beefs up Venezuelan border with airborne battalions

The Colombian government has announced it is building a new military base on its border with Venezuela and has activated six new airborne battalions. Relations between the two nations are at a historic low with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez already telling his generals to prepare for war.
He moved 15,000 more troops up to the border, accusing Colombia and its ally, the US, of planning an attack.

Colombian Defence Minister Gabriel Silva announced the formation of a new base in La Guajira in the north, near the Venezuelan border.

At the same time, the Colombian army activated the new airborne battalions, which are equipped with US helicopters.

The helicopter fleet, made up mainly of Blackhawks, now numbers 120, making the Colombian Army Air Corps the best equipped and most experienced in Latin America, the BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Colombia says.

President Chavez has criticised a pact announced last month allowing US troops to use several bases in Colombia. Silva said that the new base would have up to 1,000 soldiers.

It would, he added, also have a care facility for indigenous Wayuu people who live in the area.

Since Venezuelans were told by Mr Chavez to prepare for war and the Venezuelan army starting blowing up bridges that link the two nations, Colombia has been overhauling its defence strategy.

Until now this strategy has been geared almost exclusively to fighting the country's 45-year Marxist insurgency allied with the drugs' cartels.

General Oscar Gonzalez, commander in chief of the Army in an interview with Colombia's main daily "El Tiempo" said that the country has "serious vulnerable points" in the face of a foreign aggression.

"We have serious vulnerable points in the event of external aggression. In Colombia we are concentrated in the internal threat, but the risk has emerged, because in that way it has been clearly and directly stated".

When asked about Venezuela's military expenditure, the top official said that "spending billions of US dollars in military equipment that is not related to internal public order but rather to display it in a manner that goes beyond borders is the technical definition of 'offensive'".

Meanwhile from Caracas President Chavez in his latest "Aló president" program claimed that a drone (unmanned aircraft) was sighted in Venezuelan territory.

"That's yank technology: they are remote controlled, they film and even let bombs off; my orders were very clear: 'whenever one is sighted, shoot it down'", said Chavez.

Asignatura: CAF.
Alumno: Juan José Núñez Ceballos

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