Chavez and Fox dispute escalates

The Mexican President, Vicente Fox, has threatened to cut off all diplomatic ties with Venezuela. He said he would take that action if Venezuela's leader, Hugo Chavez, kept on making comments about him or Mexico. Earlier, both countries withdrew their ambassadors from each other's capitals after a row over free trade degenerated into bitter exchanges. Mr Chavez had refused to apologise for calling the Mexican President a "puppy" of US imperialism. The row began last week, after Mexico supported a failed US bid to relaunch the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) at the Summit of the Americas early in November.