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1000 Venezuelan troops sent to border

Venezuela has beefed up its troop presence along the border with Colombia amid heightened tension between the two South American nations.

Caracas has sent about one thousand troops to the border, citing the threat of an armed conflict with Bogota.

“We have a reinforcement of 980 to 1,000 troops for the protection of the border, but there are no unusual operations; we are staying on alert,” Reuters quoted Franklin Marquez, a regional commander for the Venezuelan National Guard, as saying on Monday.

On Saturday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said, “The possibility of armed aggression by Colombia is higher than it has been in a century.”

Venezuela broke off diplomatic ties with Colombia on July 22 after Bogota accused Caracas of providing bases for Colombian rebels.

Chavez says the allegation is an excuse for Colombia to launch a US-backed invasion of Venezuela and has threatened to cut off oil supplies to the US if that happens.

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