President Hugo Chavez called the Colombian government’s accusation against Venezuela concerning rocket launchers allegedly confiscated from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia a “dirty and crude maneuver”.
In a press conference in Ayacucho Salon in Miraflores Palace, the president reminded the international media that during an attack on Venezuelan naval station Cararabo in 1995, the guerrillas carried off “all that was in the armory: munitions, 19 automatic rifles and five AT4 rocket launchers.”
Chavez showed photographs of the rocket launchers that Colombia sent, which the neighboring government had indicated were seized from the FARC. The Venezuelan president explained the characteristics of the weapons showed: “these arms had been fired. They are old weapons that no longer function. They are already ruined and that is what (Minister) Nicolas Maduro told the Colombian minister. This is baseless.”
The president also showed a document, sent by President Uribe in June, which reports the supposed seizure of rocket launchers in October of 2008. The Venezuelan head of state said: “What a coincidence that this information comes from Colombia precisely in the hours after we begin to raise our voices against the installation of Yankee military bases in Colombian territory.”
“They bring out the dirty weapon, the famous rocket launchers now. This has a context; it is a dirty, sly and treacherous move, a stab in the back. It is a crude and dirty maneuver, and Uribe is a part of it,” added Chavez.
The president commented that this conduct has been repeated previously. He recalled the invasion of Ecuadorian territory and the kidnapping of Granda in Caracas. “The victimizer attempts to portray itself as the victim.”
The president asked again: “What does the Colombian government expect….that we would remain silent?” stating that the possibility of US military forces operating from 7 bases in Colombian territory represents a threat to the national security of Venezuela, military equilibrium and the stability of the region.
Presidential Press, Press Unit of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United States / August 6, 2009.