CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez recalled Venezuela's ambassador to Colombia and froze all diplomatic relations with the neighboring country on Tuesday to protest Bogota's suggestions that weapons found in a rebel arms cache came from Venezuela.
Chavez accused the government of President Alvaro Uribe of acting "irresponsibly," saying there is no evidence the Swedish-made anti-tank rocket launchers that Colombia says its military discovered among the cache came from Venezuela.
The socialist leader threatened to cut off all diplomatic relations and seize control of Colombian-owned business "if there's one more accusation against Venezuela." Venezuela would also halt all trade agreements with Uribe's government and find new suppliers to replace imports from Colombia, Chavez said.
Venezuela's spat with Colombia stems from Bogota's announcement last week that anti-tank rocket launchers sold to Venezuela years during the 1980s were obtained by Colombia's main rebel group, the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
Sweden has confirmed the weapons originally were sold to Venezuela's military.
Colombian officials have long alleged that Chavez's government has aided the FARC — allegations that Chavez denies.