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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Colombia’s cross-border military incursion into Ecuador could spark regional conflagration

CSMS Magazine Staff WritersColombia sent its troops last week to Ecuadoran territory in an attempt to crush FARC (Revolutionary Arm Forces of Colombia) soldiers who supposedly had been stationing there. This incursion has infuriated Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa, who since then has dispatched his own soldiers to the border. Colombia accused Ecuador of harboring Colombian rebels, and it went further by saying that the FARC had played a role in the election of Correa—an accusation flatly rejected by Correa.            The Dominican Republic, which is hosting the Rio Group summit this week in its capital, Santo-Domingo, offered a clear venue for the two rival presidents to meet face-to-face since the crisis began. According to news reports, Correa stormed the room as Uribe rose to speak. Earlier in the day, the summit opened up on a rocky start with Dominican president Leonel Fernandez pleading for unity—a unity that seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.            While Correa received long applauses for his speech in which he strongly condemned Uribe for his action, Uribe’s speech was greeted with silence. There is a deep-seated fear in the region that the United States might be behind the latest escalation, using Clombia as a proxy to further its goal at intimidating newly elected left governments.            Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez has picked up on the crisis, sending his troops in tandem withEcuador to the Colombian border. According to Agence France Presse(AFP), Venezuela has dispatched 10 battalions comprising 6,000 troops to its border with Clombia. On Thursday, Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, raised the stick by breaking diplomatic relations withColombia. Ortega, who has long been shunned by his fellow leftist comrades, has seized the moment to rehabilitate his leftist credentials. Chilean leftist president, Michelle Bachelet, appealed for clam during the summit, but still stressed that Colombia had no right to invade the territory of another country.            According to Associated Press (AP), the attack has left twenty four people dead, including FARC’s second in command, Raul Reyes. The attack has infuriated the FARC, which has announced that it will put off indefinitely ongoing negotiations aiming at releasing a number of prisoners that it has been holding for some time, including the most famous of all: Former Colombian presidential candidate with dual French and Colombian citizenships, Ingrid Betancourt.            The Organization of American States (OAS) has also condemned the Colombian incursion.Colombia is the largest recipient of US aid in South America, receiving billions of dollars to fight drug traffickers and Marxist rebels. But the emergence of liberal faces in the political landscape of Latin America has put Colombia in an isolated position, and fearing the worst, Uribe has refrained from sending troops to its borders in an effort to avert a crisis that is threatening to engulf an entire region.As expected, the United States stands firm with Colombia and accuses Venezuela for escalating the crisis.

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