Venezuela and Colombia Have a Long History of Tension





The presidents of Venezuela and Ecuador have ordered troops to their countries' respective borders with Colombia, after Colombian forces bombed a rebel camp in Ecuador's territory. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from Washington, the surge in tensions are the latest chapter in a period of frosty relations between Colombia's U.S.-backed leader and Venezuela socialist-firebrand president.

Colombia and Venezuela both trace the origins of their nationhood to the independence movement led by South American revolutionary hero Simon Bolivar in the early 1800s. Despite historical ties, relations between the two countries have often been contentious, marked by border disputes, resentment over migration between the two countries, and periodic diplomatic squabbles.

Those tensions have escalated since 2002, when Colombians elected Alvaro Uribe, a firm ally of the United States, as president. Ideologically, Mr. Uribe is the polar opposite of Venezuela's self-proclaimed socialist leader, Hugo Chavez. The two have traded bitter accusations and pointed insults, often centering around Colombia's efforts to eradicate leftist guerrillas known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and Mr. Chavez' efforts to act as an intermediary in the conflict.



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