Journalists are not supposed to shoot down a good story, but I have to confess that I'm not terribly excited about the news of
Despite the big headlines about
Chávez, in what critics said was a move to divert attention from the presence of Colombian guerrillas in his country, broke diplomatic ties with
He also threatened to cut off
Why did Uribe make his high-risk move before the OAS only two weeks before leaving office? There are two theories: that he did it to tie his successor's hands and force him to maintain
The British weekly The Economist and many other mainstream media subscribe to the first theory. "Uribe tries to undermine his successor's tentative reconciliation with
While Santos served as Uribe's defense minister and carried out
Uribe, who still enjoys high popularity rates in
After Santos won the election with an unprecedented 69 percent of the vote, the president-elect felt politically strong enough to announce the appointment of ministers of foreign relations and agriculture who are known not to be of Uribe's liking, well-placed Colombians say.
According to the second theory, the outgoing government is doing the dirty work for Santos before the president-elect takes over.
But most foreign diplomats agree that Santos will find a way to defuse the crisis once he takes office, even if
Both countries are heavily dependent on each other economically:
"There are motivations for both sides to settle this," says a senior
My opinion: This latest diplomatic crisis will pass, if only to resurface sometime in the near future.
In 2008, Chávez threatened to go to war with
Since then, bilateral trade has fallen by more than 70 percent.
Once Santos takes office, there will be a truce. But the honeymoon is not likely to last. Santos will not sit idly by while Chávez tolerates Colombian guerrilla camps in his territory, and Chávez will need to continue portraying himself as the victim of an alleged U.S.-Colombian conspiracy to justify his increasingly anti-democratic measures at home.
It's a movie we've seen many times before.
Available at Amazon.com:
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(C) 2010 Andres Oppenheimer