Venezuela rejects Dutch reassurances US military
Venezuela rejected Dutch reassurances the U.S. military was using the Netherlands' Caribbean islands only for drug surveillance.
Venezuela rejected on Thursday Dutch reassurances the U.S. military was using the Netherlands' Caribbean islands only for drug surveillance, accusing it of complicity with a planned U.S. "aggression."
The threat of U.S. intervention in the oil-producing South American nation has become a central element of President Hugo Chavez's discourse and a rallying cry for his supporters.
"The warlike U.S. government, in complicity with the Netherlands, is preparing an aggression against the territory and people of Venezuela," a Venezuelan government statement said.
Dutch diplomats in the region were not immediately available to comment on Venezuela's statement.
Chavez surprised the diplomatic world this month when he accused the Netherlands of planning offensive action against his government by granting U.S. troops access to its islands close to Venezuela.
The Dutch government said the U.S. presence on Curacao and Aruba -- where about 250 Air Force crew and ground staff are based -- was for counternarcotics and surveillance operations over Caribbean smuggling routes.
"The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela doubts the installations that the Netherlands government has put at the disposition of U.S. military contingents are used in the fight against drugs," Thursday's statement said.
"The government reiterates to the international community its accusation that the United States is using the colonial territories of Aruba and Curacao to prepare a military aggression against Venezuela," it said.
The government accused the United States of using the excuse of fighting drugs to justify violations of Venezuelan airspace. It said Washington has a tradition of using third countries to launch military attacks.
Chavez also this week accused Colombia of planning to attack Venezuela at the behest of Washington. He said plans were afoot to claim a camp of Colombian guerrillas was on Venezuelan soil to justify the attack.
U.S. and Colombian officials deny aggressive intentions against Venezuela.
Reuters Last Mod: 01 Ocak 2010, 00:24