MEXICO CITY, August 10 (RIA Novosti) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said at a South American summit in Quito on Monday that the presence of U.S. servicemen in Colombia could provoke a war.
"The announcement of an American military deployment at seven military bases in Colombia could turn into a tragedy," he said. "In the current situation, I have to warn everyone of the danger of a war in the region."
Colombia and the U.S. are planning to sign a bilateral security and defense treaty for 10 years, as a result of which Washington could increase the number of its troops deployed at seven bases in the South American state. The U.S. will acquire the right to use the bases to fight international terrorism and drug trafficking.
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said earlier on Monday that by increasing its military presence in Colombia, the United States was seeking to establish control over the region's economic resources.
"The fight against drug trafficking is only an excuse for deploying military bases throughout the [southern] hemisphere," Castro said. He also said that the high-tech military equipment the U.S. was planning to deploy was not needed in the fight against drug trafficking.
"The real objective is control over economic resources and control over the markets," he added.