Venezuela's Chavez Breaks Ties with Colombia Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announces he is breaking off relations with Colombia's government and President Alvaro Uribe. The quarrel began last week when Uribe ended Chavez's role in hostage negotiations with Marxist guerrillas in Colombia.

Venezuela's Chavez Breaks Ties with Colombia

Venezuela's Chavez Breaks Ties with Colombia

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Colombian President Alvaro Uribe answered questions about his dispute with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez at a meeting in Bogota, Colombia, on Wednesday. Mauricio Duenas/AFP/Getty hide caption

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Mauricio Duenas/AFP/Getty

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has broken off ties with neighboring Colombia. Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty hide caption

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Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he is cutting ties with the neighboring government in Colombia.

It was the latest salvo in a disagreement between the populist leader and Colombia's conservative president, Alvaro Uribe.

In making his announcement, Chavez was clear he wanted nothing to do with Uribe.

Chavez accused Uribe of disrespecting him, saying, "That's why I say it before the world, as long as President Uribe is president of Colombia, I won't have any kind of relation with him, or with the government of Colombia. I cannot do it."

Uribe Halted Negotiations

The quarrel began last week when Uribe abruptly ended Chavez's role in mediation efforts with Colombia's Marxist guerrillas. Chavez had been trying to win the release of the guerrillas' civilian hostages.

But Uribe was angered by Chavez's handling of the delicate negotiations and ended Chavez's involvement.

The Venezuelan leader lashed out at Uribe on Sunday, and Uribe lashed back — accusing Chavez of having an "expansionist project" in Latin America.

In Venezuela's capital city of Caracas, officials said the disagreement was Uribe's fault. They also blamed the United States, which has provided billions of dollars in aid to Colombia.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said Chavez was making progress in his negotiations with the guerillas, and accused the Colombians and Americans of not wanting the hostages freed.

"When they saw it was irreversible and advancing, they went back on it because they don't believe in peace," Maduro said.

What remains unclear is whether the dispute will hurt commercial ties between the two Latin American nations, which are particularly important to Colombia.