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Colombia, Venezuela inch toward Cold War

Despite warm relations between their leaders, Colombia and Venezuela seem to be entering a Cold War.

Relations between Colombia and Venezuela are starting to resemble a Latin American version of the Cold War, as the two countries try to sort out the murders of two Bogotá intelligence agents in Venezuela and Colombia's recent deportation of a Venezuelan politician.

The new tensions come atop Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro's recent decision to cancel a trip to Bogotá, saying Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos had falsely accused Caracas of being a major transit point for drug and weapons smugglers.

''We aren't going to accept any more conduct of this sort,'' Maduro told reporters. ``It's not a game to us.''

Maduro more recently met with Colombian Foreign Minister Fernando Araújo in Bogotá and called for a ''positive agenda.'' But relations remain chilly.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe come from different ideological corners, with Chávez pushing for what he calls ''Bolivarian socialism'' while Uribe is a free-market conservative who has launched an unprecedented offensive against leftist guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as FARC.

Relations briefly came apart in early 2005, after Uribe sent secret agents to capture and bring back a top FARC member in Caracas. Venezuela threatened to sever all diplomatic ties, until Uribe made a special trip to patch up relations.

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