Monte Reel
The Washington Post
March 5, 2008

While troops in Ecuador and Venezuela moved toward their borders with Colombia, leaders from those countries ratcheted up their angry rhetoric Tuesday and warned of a broader regional conflict if the worsening diplomatic dispute becomes a military confrontation.

Ecuador’s Rafael Correa visited Peru to begin a tour soliciting Latin American backing for sanctions against Colombia after its military crossed into Ecuador on Saturday to attack guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, who use the frontier region as a sanctuary. Venezuela, which jumped into the dispute in support of Ecuador, announced that it would halt cross-border trade with Colombia.

“If this act goes unpunished, the whole region will be in danger, because the next victim could be Peru, it could be Brazil, it could be Venezuela, Bolivia or any of our countries,” Correa said in televised comments in Lima. “Colombia’s attitude is creating a danger for the entire region and setting intolerable precedents.”

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