It looks like Chavez's attempt to expand his sphere of influence in South America is no longer limited to economic largesse. The Christian Science Monitor reports:
Ecuador and Venezuela say they are moving thousands of troops to Colombia's borders, a day after Colombian forces killed a leftist rebel leader in Ecuadorean territory. Colombia later charged that high-ranking Ecuadorean officials met recently with the slain rebel, Raúl Reyes, to accommodate the guerrillas' presence there.
The developments raised tensions in a region that has been on edge in the several months since Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez had a bitter falling-out. Mr. Reyes was the second-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
The best quote comes from the New York Times:
The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, in ordering the expulsion of diplomatic personnel of the Colombian Embassy, said it was acting “in defense of the sovereignty of the fatherland and the dignity of the Venezuelan people.”
It's hard to see how either the sovereignty or the dignity of the Venezuelan people were afflicted by Colombia's incursion into Ecuador, but just like my old dog, if there's a fight, Chavez wants to be in the middle of it. Not that there isn't enough blame to go around; our pointless war on Colombian cocaine has empowered FARC by giving them cocaine revenue and the pride of standing up to El Norte, while exacerbating the tensions between Colombia and the virulently anti-US Chavez. Nor is the Colombian government one I would want to live under. But Chavez is the one sending troops to a border no one has threatened, and undoubtedly egging Ecuador on--and also, if Colombia is to be believed (a somewhat dubious proposition), funneling money to FARC.