March 02, 2008
CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez ordered Venezuela's embassy in Colombia closed and told the military to send 10 battalions to the border after Colombian troops killed a top rebel leader.
Chavez told his defense minister: "move 10 battalions for me to the border with Colombia, immediately." He ordered the Venezuelan Embassy in Bogota closed and said all embassy personnel would be withdrawn.
The announcements by Venezuela's leftist leader pushed relations to their tensest point of his nine-year presidency, and Chavez warned that Colombia could spark a war in South America.
He called the U.S.-allied government in Bogota "a terrorist state" and labeled President Alvaro Uribe "a criminal."