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U.S.A. takes side: Colombia´s allegations that Chavez regime is harboring FARC narcoterrorists are very serious, says State Dept.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates with colombian Juan Manuel Santos

The United States threw its support behind key ally Colombia Friday in a row with Venezuela that has seen the South American neighbors break ties amid escalating military tensions.

Colombia’s allegations that Venezuela was harboring 1,500 Colombian rebels in camps on its territory — the trigger for the dispute — “need to be taken very seriously,” the US State Department said.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters in Washington, however, that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s decision Thursday to sever all diplomatic relations with Colombia and put border troops on alert was “a petulant response.”

Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega said soldiers were being mobilized to border towns to boost security. And Defense Minister Carlos Mata said that, while the frontier was currently calm, the army was ready to “give a robust response” if Colombian forces attacked.

Fear the confrontation could spill over into military action galvanized other countries in the region.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was to make an August 6 trip to Venezuela to try to…READ MORE HERE.