Venezuela, Colombia trade fire over spy case
Venezuela returned fire Friday following Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's statement on an espionage charge involving eight Colombians.
Venezuela announced the arrest of eight Colombians on Tuesday, accusing them of spying on Venezuela's power infrastructure.
Uribe on Thursday rejected the espionage accusation and called on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to respect human rights of Colombians living in Venezuela. Uribe said his government had turned to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission for help.
In response, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said Friday that Uribe was creating a "smokescreen" to cover up "the seriousness of the facts that show the constant actions of groups conspiring against peace and security (in Venezuela)."
The ministry said the detainees were possibly carrying out destabilizing and sabotage plans against Venezuela.
Chavez said the human rights of the detained Colombians were respected.
The Venezuelan Interior and Justice Ministry said Tuesday that the detainees possessed photos of the Venezuelan national electricity system and highways.
Political and commercial ties between Venezuela and Colombia have been frozen due to a controversial U.S.-Colombia military agreement, which allows the presence of U.S. troops at seven Colombian military bases.