CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez severed Venezuela's diplomatic relations with Colombia on Thursday over claims he harbors guerrillas, and he charged that his neighbor's leader could attempt to provoke a war.
Chavez said he was forced to break off all relations because Colombian officials claim he has failed to move against leftist rebels who allegedly have taken shelter in Venezuelan territory.
Chavez acted moments after Colombian Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos presented a meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington with photos, videos, witness testimony and maps of what he said were rebel camps inside Venezuela and challenged Venezuelan officials to let independent observers visit them.
Neither Chavez nor his OAS ambassador directly responded to the Colombian challenge to let people visit the site of the alleged camps.
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Mexican troops kill drug gang suspects
MEXICO CITY — Eight suspected drug gang gunmen died in a battle with Mexican soldiers in the remote mountains of northern Chihuahua state, the federal Public Safety Department said Thursday.
The department cited an internal army report saying the clash occurred near the rural town of Madera, about 145 miles south of the U.S. border.
The gunmen apparently opened fire on an army patrol, but the Defense Department did not offer any information on the attack or the identity of the attackers. The area is frequently used by gangs to produce and traffic drugs.
On Wednesday, the border city of Nuevo Laredo was practically paralyzed by late-night gunbattles in which gangs forced people from their cars and used the vehicles to block streets. The sound of gunfire alarmed Texans on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande.