Andean Conflict Reaps Domestic Political Rewards for Uribe, Correa, Chávez

Andean Conflict Reaps Domestic Political Rewards for Uribe, Correa, Chávez

When Colombia bombed a guerrilla camp in Ecuador last month, igniting one of Latin America's worst diplomatic spats in recent history and nearly sparking a regional war, the leaders at the center of the dispute each emerged with a most unexpected political reward: a boost in their domestic support.

Recent opinion polls in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela illustrate that the nationalist stands taken by leaders of the three countries paid off for each of them politically.

"All three leaders occupied different roles and all of them are satisfied," said Juan Gabriel Valdés, former minister of foreign relations in Chile. Colombian President Álvaro Uribe "was proud to kill a guerilla leader," said Valdés, while Ecuadoran leader Rafael Correa "feels like a hero by defending his country's sovereignty," and Venezuela President Hugo Chávez "was pleased to be invited to resolve an international conflict."

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