Venezuela Mobilization Comes Amid Continuing Concerns About Military Spending, Rebel Ties

Venezuela Mobilization Comes Amid Continuing Concerns About Military Spending, Rebel Ties

MIAMI -- The specter of war looming over Colombia and Venezuelafollowing the recent killing of a Colombian rebel leader comes amid anongoing and significant increase in Venezuela's military spending inrecent years. Venezuela's military buildup and continuing concernsabout its government's ties to left-wing rebels provide aworrying context for Venezuela's recent troop mobilization, though mostanalysts still believe the chances are slim that the current crisiswill spark a military conflict.

Colombia's decision over the weekend to cross into Ecuador to kill rebel leader Raúl Reyes and 16 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who were reportedly camped just a mile from Colombia along the two countries' dense jungle border, apparently stirred the ire of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who called for the deployment of thousands of troops and tanks to Venezuela's own border with Colombia.

His aim, Chávez said in a fiery national address, is to prevent Colombia from repeating the same move on Venezuelan soil, where FARC rebels are believed to take refuge.

Chávez said he would prefer to avoid a conflict with Colombia, with which Venezuela does about $4 billion in bilateral trade every year, but was preparing for the possibility nonetheless. Ever the critic of the United States, he accused Bogotá of doing Washington's bidding in its handling of the country's rebels.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.