Venezuelan soldiers lines up prior to board a military transport at Fort Paramacay in Valencia, Venezuela, Sunday, March 2, 2008. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
"Let all diplomatic officials return. We are in a state of alert and we will back Ecuador in whatever circumstance," Chavez added.
He said that Colombia's military leaders had recognized that they had deliberately invaded Ecuadorian territory, something that is extremely serious. It could be the start of a South American war," he said.
Chavez also said that he would not take part in the next South American Union of Nations meeting set for late March in Colombia's capital Bogota.
Chavez went on to describe Colombia's president, Alvaro Uribe, as a criminal. "Not only is he a liar, a mafia boss, a paramilitary who leads a narco-government and leads a government that is a lackey of the United States ..., he leads a band of criminals from his palace."
Venezuela shares 2,219 kilometers of border with Colombia. From August to November last year, Chavez took part in mediations between the Colombian government and the FARC, which led to the release of hostages in the early part of this year. However, Uribe fired Chavez from the mediation role for allegedly breaking protocol.
(Xinhua News Agency March 3, 2008)