Irked by US-Colombia deal, Chavez warns of war

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has again slammed US plans to increase its military presence in Colombia, echoing his earlier remarks in which he warned of an imminent war in the region.

The US President Barack Obama is ‘lost in the Andromeda’ galaxy on Latin American policy, Chavez said on Sunday in his weekly address.

He made the comments after Bogota announced a deal that will allow US troops to use seven military bases on Colombian soil. The leftist president believes that a larger US troop presence ups the prospect of a war in the region.

Accordingly, Venezuela is planning to revamp its army by buying weaponry from Russia, Chavez said, adding that his country needs to be prepared for an attack.

Chavez charged that the United States is after controlling Venezuela’s huge oil reserves as well as the Amazon region.

“This is just the start of an imperial military expansion,” Chavez said, referring to the US-Colombian security arrangement.

Last week, Obama had said that the critics of US involvement in Latin America were now asking Washington to do more to restore the ousted president of Honduras, adding that they ‘can’t have it both ways’.

In response to the remark the Venezuelan leader said, “We are not asking you to intervene in Honduras, Obama. On the contrary, we are asking that ‘the empire’ get its hands off Honduras and get its claws out of Latin America.”

He went on to repeat earlier allegations that Washington had prior knowledge about a coup that unseated the Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, adding that the military plane that flew Zelaya out of the country had used a US base in Honduras.

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