NEWS WIRE SERVICES
Updated Sunday, March 2nd 2008, 11:20 PM
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
amassed thousands of troops and tanks along the border with Colombia
Sunday saying the U.S.
ally's military action in a neighboring country has pushed it to the brink of war.
Chavez warned Colombia's government that Venezuela
will not stand for Saturday's killing of top rebel leader Raul Reyes
and 16 other Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
guerrillas at a camp across the border in Ecuador
"We don't want war, but we aren't going to permit the U.S. empire, which is the master [of Colombia] . . . to come to divide us," the leftist leader said during his weekly TV and radio program.
He ordered the Venezuelan Embassy
closed and said all embassy personnel would be withdrawn. Ecuador also sent troops to its border with the country - and tossed out Colombia's ambassador.
Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa
, said Colombia deliberately carried out the strike beyond its borders. "There is no justification," he said, adding the rebels were "bombed and massacred as they slept, using precision technology."
But Colombia said FARC "terrorists" including Reyes "have had the custom of killing in Colombia and taking refuge in the territory of neighboring countries."
Bogota said documents found in the camp showed ties between the FARC rebels and Correa, including contacts with his government about political proposals.
Police Commander Gen. Oscar Naranjo
said documents found in computers belonging to Reyes showed contacts between a top Correa government minister and the FARC commander to discuss political proposals and projects on the frontier.
"The questions raised by these documents need concrete answers," Naranjo said. "What is the state of relations between the Ecuadorean government and a terrorist group like the FARC."