Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has suggested creating a joint military force for the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) member nations to see off any possible US military aggression.
Speaking during his Sunday television show "Alo Presidente" alongside his special guest Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega, he said "we are going to commission a working paper. We need a joint ALBA defence strategy."
Ortega backed the idea, adding that the US was working via Colombia to threaten "not only Venezuela but also the whole of Latin America."
"If they mess with one of us, then they will be dealing with all of us," Ortega said. "Touching Venezuela would mean setting the region alight. Messing with Venezuela is messing with all of Latin America."
Chavez added that Brazil's President Luiz Inacio da Silva had recently agreed with the idea of creating a South American defence council, and that using the same logic not only a defence council but a dedicated armed forces could be created.
Chavez said he believed that Colombia, acting on US instructions, was creating obstacles to the proposed South American Union of Nations (Unasur), citing that nation's decision to suspend Unasur planning meetings scheduled there without giving any explanation.
"That was an act of disrespect towards other nations," he said. "We are sure that Colombia is following Washington's guidelines to create obstacles for the integration of our peoples. Colombia's oligarchy is a threat to integration," he added.
ALBA is made up of Bolivia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Venezuela.