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Chavez cuts all ties with Colombia

  • Story Highlights
  • Chavez says Uribe had asked him to help secure the release of hostages
  • Uribe cited Chavez's direct communication with Uribe's top general as breach
  • Chavez accuses Uribe of lying
  • Chavez says his arms are open to the Colombian people
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(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday he is cutting all ties with Colombia as long as Alvaro Uribe remains its president.

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Colombian President Alvaro Uribe withdrew his support for the Venezuelan leader's mediation efforts with the FARC.

"I say before the world, while President Uribe is president of Colombia, I will not have any type of relation with him or with the government of Colombia," Chavez said in an address broadcast on national television. "I can't, I can't, I can't."

Chavez noted that Uribe had asked him to help secure the release of hundreds of hostages being held by the leftist rebel group Armed Revolutionary Front of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

"I went with my heart in my hand, and I was ready," Chavez told a group of supporters in the southwestern state of Tachira. "I was prepared to go to the most dangerous forest in the country to help."

But last Thursday, Uribe ended Chavez's participation, citing his direct communication with Uribe's top general, a move that Uribe said broke protocol.

"When we were at the point of succeeding, Uribe comes and, without telling me anything, he didn't even call me on the phone or send me an emissary, just sent me a letter saying he was ending my mission," Chavez said. "That was a kick."

Without being specific, Chavez accused Uribe of having lied. "That's real ugly," he said. Chavez also accused Uribe of having bowed to pressure from Washington "to get rid of Chavez."

But the firebrand Venezuelan president, who has called U.S. President George W. Bush "the devil," said his arms are open to the Colombian people. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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