QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador broke off diplomatic ties with Colombia on Monday, escalating a dispute across the Andean region that erupted after Colombian soldiers raided inside its southern neighbor to kill a guerrilla leader.
Colombia also fueled the tensions by accusing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of funding Colombia's Marxist rebels -- a charge denied by the anti-U.S. president's government.
The three-nation crisis erupted when Colombia flew troops into Ecuador at the weekend in a bombing raid that killed a leading guerrilla commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
It was a major blow to Latin America's oldest guerrilla group. Chavez responded by ordering troops and tanks to the border with Colombia and he warned conservative President Alvaro Uribe that a similar strike on Venezuelan soil could lead to war.
Ecuador has also sent thousands of troops to the border and took another step in the dispute on
"The Ecuadorean government has decided to break off diplomatic relations," it said in a letter to Colombia's foreign ministry.
The juxtaposition of events in
~ Hot Air
We need to understand how nuts these leftists are both in
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Warning that Colombia could spark a war, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sent tanks and thousands of troops to the countries' border Sunday and ordered his government's embassy in Bogota closed.
The leftist leader warned
"Mr. Defense Minister, move 10 battalions to the border with
He ordered the Venezuelan Embassy in
Though Chavez didn't say how many troops he was sending, a Venezuelan battalion traditionally has some 600 soldiers—meaning some 6,000 could be headed to the border.
Chavez called the Colombian government "a terrorist state" as he sided with the leftist rebels it has battled for decades, saying its military "invaded
"This is an odd reaction by
Chavez said he had just spoken to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and that