Send by email

your name: email to: message:
Username: Email: Password: Confirm Password:
Login with
Confirming registration ...

Edit your profile:

Country: Town: State:
Gender: Birthday:
Email: Web:
How do you describe yourself:
Password: New password: Repite password:

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The tension between Venezuela and Colombia

Por Rory

One explosion, two, while President Nicolás Maduro spoke at an event celebrating the anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard. Immediately, the programming of the radio and television station that was broadcast at that moment in Venezuela is cut. That was this Saturday at 17:41 Caracas time. Since then, the official version speaks of an attack against the Venezuelan leader. To the president Juan Manuel Santos the news caught him in the celebration of the baptism of his granddaughter Celeste. At that time of the night, except the national and international press, nobody was attentive to the events in the neighboring country.

Perhaps that’s the reason of the brief reaction from sources in the Nariño Palace to the statements made by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, pointing out that Santos was responsible for the alleged attack. «It has no basis. The president is dedicated to the christening of his granddaughter and not to overthrow foreign governments, "said a government source. They referred to the national speech on radio and television in which the Venezuelan president said: "We have cleared the situation in record time, and it is an attempt to kill me, they have tried to assassinate me today and I have no doubt that everything points to the right, to the Venezuelan ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian far right and that the name of Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack, I have no doubts ». He also clarified that from the supposed attack with drones he was saved by a "love shield". In parallel, while some journalists and local residents claimed that it was the explosion of a car bomb in a building and not an attack with drone laden with explosives, the Venezuelan journalist Patricia Poleo, from exile in Miami, launched an exclusive for the social networks with an alleged communication received by active military members opposed to the government.

In it they talk about Operation Fénix to overthrow the Maduro regime, a statement that until now has not been confirmed by anyone and adds to the media nonsense that happens in this type of situation. In this always delirious scenario, what else can be said about the repeated accusations of the neighboring regime? At this time, neither the elect president Iván Duque nor leaders of left like Gustavo Petro have dedicated nor a trill to him to condemn the attack or to reject the accusations against Santos. For its part, and already officially, the Colombian Foreign Ministry issued a press release almost midnight on Saturday in which rejected the accusations against the Colombian president, calling them absurd and unfounded. And it reiterated what no one surprises: "It is already customary for the Venezuelan president to permanently blame Colombia for any type of situation." Meanwhile, as is also normal, the Colombian armed forces remained attentive to any other action by the Venezuelan president. The complex relations with Venezuela have been crucial in the eight years of Santos's government and will continue to be the nerve center during Duque's term, who insists on his promise to formally denounce him before the International Criminal Court, although for now he is focused on fine tuning the 100 first days of government and not to give rise to the accusations of Maduro against Santos.

Precisely to deal with the bilateral issue and review the actions to meet the incessant migratory flow of Venezuelans, last Friday the Colombian president invited his successor to review the bilateral agenda, to which he dedicated several hours of work. Before his imminent arrival to the presidency and the speeches of the electoral campaign finished, the position and effective actions that assume the government of Duque in front of it Venezuelan counterpart will be determinant for the Colombian national security and for the regional stability. Last week, in a dialogue with Semana magazine, Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín, who has accompanied Santos throughout his eight-year term, took stock of the complicated relationship between the two governments.

"Unfortunately, Venezuela has always been a difficult issue for all the foreign ministers, but here an internal situation in Venezuela worsened. This flow of migrants that increased in the last year is a permanent anguish for the country," she said. The minister spoke of the attempts of the Colombian government to sit down to talk to the Venezuelan opposition with the Maduro government, already openly declaring the failure of these efforts. And when asked about the change in Colombia's position towards the neighbor, when at the beginning of his term Santos launched the controversial claim that Chávez was his "new best friend," Holguin responded: "When the government began, we tried to have a fairly good relationship, where we worked on issues that were positive for the two countries. But definitely in April 2016, when the Supreme Court decides to disregard the National Assembly, Venezuela's democracy is broken, which was already a fact, we distanced ourselves, we removed the ambassador and since then we have practically no relations".

Indeed, thinking of a negotiation with the Farc, whose leaders were protected by the neighboring regime, as are the leaders of the ELN guerrilla, the Santos government sought rapprochement and the good offices of Hugo Chávez, who was instrumental in that the negotiation table in Havana began in 2012. Everyone was interested in sitting there: the Santos government, to fulfill its promise of peace, the Chávez government to have a more favorable international scenario and interference in the affairs of Colombia, and the guerrillas to maintain their sanctuary, a external ally and take advantage of global attention. The detractors of the agreements and harsh opponents of the Santos government knew how to take advantage of the circumstances, describing it as "Castro-Chavez", establishing in the Colombian imaginary that this government would lead the country to the Venezuelan precipice. Time proved the opposite: this August 7, after elections without setbacks and with historical participation, Santos gives the command precisely to his detractors.