Defense Report: Colombia is defenseless against a Venezuelan military strike.
Venezuelan Air Force with Russian Sukhoi Jet Fighter
Bogota .- A confidential report submitted by the Colombian government to Congress in December warned that, given a hypothetical venezuelan attack on Colombia, the country would have serious risks for the lack of an air defense system, according to a report released today by the newspaper El Espectador.
The report is a summary of the answers given by the colombian Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Commerce to a questionnaire prepared by the House of Representatives, who wanted to know if the country is ready for an international confrontation.
The questions and answers are directed focusing primarily towards a possible war scenario with Venezuela, amid tensions between the two countries since last August.
According to the newspaper, which had access to the report even the newspaper explicitly states that it reserves the release of highly confidential data, the main concern raised by the Defense Minister, Gabriel Silva, is the border security in the province of La Guajira.
Silva expressed concern over Venezuela’s purchases of Russian military equipment for 5,000 million dollars, which represents “a strategic concern for the safety and protection of Colombia.”
The Colombian minister said that the purchase of the Russian military equipment are more suited for “attack and offensive ” operations than “defensive,” noting that “the so-called Bolivarian revolution is contrarian to the Colombian democratic system.” The ministerial report concluded that Venezuela is able to conduct an offensive operation with tanks in order to rapidly conquer Colombian territory, while conducting another defense strategy along the common border and even of promoting counter-guerrilla operations.
- Russian T-72 Tank
“Similarly, in this scenario of confrontation Venezuela could promote airborne operations, naval operations of both surface warfare and submarine, navigating Colombian rivers with Venezuelan ground troops or even take air combat actions against Colombian positions,” the report said.
The Defense Minister´s concern was evident. Silva said that although Colombia has a deterrent capability in the Army, Navy and Air Force, the peninsula of La Guajira is vulnerable because the units “are very limited in their anti-tank capacity.”
The minister’s report also notes that both naval military facilities and commercial ports “would be highly vulnerable” to a Venezuelan airstrike due to the lack of a good air defense system.
Also, Silva responded that Bogota, where the main government headquarters are located, currently has no air defense systems, nor the oil refineries.
Referring to one of the replies of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the newspaper revealed that they still do not know all the information found on the hard drive of the computer of alias “Raul Reyes”, the chief of the FARC killed two years ago in a Colombian Army bombing in Ecuador, which resulted in the rupture of diplomatic relations between Quito and Bogota.
According to the newspaper, the congressmen asked whether the country and the international community knows all the information in the hard drive that can compromise Chavez in all these situations, and the answer was: “Given the extreme sensitivity that represents the information contained therein, the information has been classified as highly confidential. For that reason all of the information has not been released to Colombian public opinion. ”
The current phase of tension between Chavez and Colombia began last August, when Bogota announced an agreement with the United States, signed in October, by which that country’s military may use up to seven Colombian military bases, after which Chavez said that the U.S.-Colombia agreement was a “threat” and “frozen” the bilateral diplomatic and trade relations.
At the request of the Rio Group, the Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández, initiated last week a mediation process that seeks to restore the links between Colombia and Venezuela.
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