Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is saying the United States could attempt to provoke a war between the two South American countries and has ordered Venezuela's military to prepare for war with Colombia.
Chavez pointed to a recent agreement between Colombia and the United States giving the U.S. military greater access to Colombia's military bases, saying the deal poses a threat to regional stability, reports Associated Press.
President Chavez said if a conflict begins between the two countries, "It could extend throughout the whole continent."
The Colombian government has rejected "threats of war from Venezuela's government."
Colombian President Alvaro says his country will protest the Venezuelan president's statements to the Organization of American States and the UN Security Council.
Chavez maintains the deal between Columbia and the U.S., aimed at fighting drug traffickers and Marxist insurgents within Colombia, may be the beginning of an American set-up to invade Venezuela from Colombia, reports MSNBC News.
During his weekly television and radio address, Chavez told the country's military leaders, "The best way to avoid war is to prepare for it."
Venezuela deployed 15,000 troops to the border Thursday to increase security due to violence and shootings in recent weeks.
Venezuela's domestic problems ranging from rampant crime to electricity and water rationing may have something to do with Chavez's rhetoric.
In an interview with Associated Press, Elsa Cardoso, professor of international relations at the Central University of Venezuela said, "He's sending up a smoke screen, a distraction."
In his address, Chavez warned U.S. President Barack Obama, "Don't make a mistake, Mr. Obama, by ordering an attack against Venezuela by way of Colombia."