Sara Miller Llana at the Christian Science Monitor looks at the Colombia-Venezuela dispute, and particularly at how it might affect President-elect Juan Manuel Santos:
President-elect Santos has indicated a willingness to forge a warmer relationship with Chávez, but this latest rift will set back those aspirations, says Carlos Romero, a political analyst at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas. “The real loser here is Santos,” he says.
Mr. Romero agrees with Shifter that with Uribe out of office, there is hope of a stronger relationship. Even Chávez on Thursday indicated some willingness to put tensions behind. "Hopefully [Santos will] understand that leftist and right-wing governments can live together," Chávez was quoted saying.
“Colombia and Venezuela have different allies, but they are neighbors,” Mr. Romero says. “Unfortunately, Santos faces more obstacles now.”
I must say I disagree. A more plausible argument is that Alvaro Uribe is doing this on purpose right before he leaves office, thus leaving Santos in the position of making nice with Hugo Chávez from a position of strength. Santos has already made a point of talking diplomatically, and thus far seems much less antagonistic than Uribe with regard to Venezuela. Uribe will take all the heat, and Santos can calm things down.
Update: My idea is so good that Boz wrote about it a week ago.