Mérida, November 29, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Wednesday that his government
would not have relations with Colombia
as long as Alvaro Uribe is the president of Colombia. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
made a similar statement on Tuesday, saying that there would be no humanitarian
exchange as long as Uribe is in power.
Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba, meanwhile, defended her mediation
efforts before the Colombian Congress and called for a normalization of
relations between Colombia
"As long President Uribe
is the president of Colombia,
I won't have any type of relations with him or with the Colombian
government," Chavez declared at a campaign event in Venezuela on
"A president that is
capable of blatantly lying, to disrespect another president that he has called
his friend, who he has called on for help. Well, if that's how he is with me, I
wonder how he is with the poor Colombian people," he said.
The verbal confrontation
between the two presidents reached its worst point in years this week after
Chavez decided to review his government's relations with Colombia. The decision came after
the Colombian president called off mediation efforts led by President Chavez between
the Colombian guerrilla organization FARC and the Colombian government. Uribe
accused Chavez of violating Colombian sovereignty and of giving
"legitimacy to terrorism."
The Venezuelan president at
first responded by saying that he respected the sovereign decision of the
Colombian president, but would not accept the "lies" he used to
justify his decision. Shortly thereafter, Chavez recalled his ambassador in
Bogotá to review the bilateral relations with Colombia.
President Chavez lamented the
end of the mediation efforts and assured that they had just reached a
breakthrough in the negotiations with the FARC, explaining that FARC leader
Manuel Marulanda "was going to turn over the first group [of hostages]
before the end of the year."
"The next step was to
converse with Marulanda, which even Uribe accepted as a condition for the
liberation of the first group," said Chavez. He went on to explain that
the advances in the negotiations "set off the alarms" in Washington,
and caused Uribe to end the mediation efforts.
The FARC guerrilla organization
also released a statement on Wednesday, labeling Uribe's decision to end
negotiations as "miserable." The FARC concurred with the statements
of the Venezuela
president, assuring that Uribe is the biggest enemy to any humanitarian
"For there to be a
humanitarian exchange and peace we need a new, truly democratic government,
founded on the sovereignty of the people, and social justice," said the
The FARC agreed that the
mediation efforts with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were the only hope for
successful negotiations and sharply criticized the Colombian president for
suspending the efforts.
"Uribe's attitude upon
suspending the humanitarian mediation of President Hugo Chavez and Senator
Piedad Cordoba is miserable, very miserable, when it was the only hope to
achieve an agreement in Colombia,"
said the FARC. "We should all feel ashamed of the Uribe's obnoxious
affront against a friendly president."
Colombian Senator Piedad
Cordoba appeared before the Colombian Congress on Tuesday to defend her efforts
to mediate with the FARC. Cordoba
was asked to lead mediation efforts by President Uribe himself, but has now
been accused of treason and of collaborating with terrorists.
Cordoba explained her efforts before the
Congress in an hour-long presentation and emphasized the importance of the
efforts by President Chavez in making contact with the FARC. The Senator also
expressed her frustration at not being able to continue with the efforts, but
assured that she would speak to the Venezuela president about
normalizing relations with Uribe.
"I want to tell President
Chavez that Colombia and Venezuela
cannot continue in conflict," she said before the Congress. "I'm
going to use my opportunity to speak with [Chavez] so that relations can be