August 9th, 2009 (Venezuenanalysis.com) – On Friday, during a meeting with the organisation Colombians for
Peace, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez instructed the Venezuelan ambassador
Gustavo Marquez to return to Colombia.
Venezuela withdrew its ambassador
from Colombia on 28 July following Colombia's accusations that it had sold
weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Colombia's
decision to expand US military presence on its bases.
Chavez said the restitution of
the ambassador was a result of the meeting with the peace group. "This very
diverse … group of Colombians asked me for a gesture, a sign of good faith and
I'm always ready to make such gestures of good will."
He then said on Saturday that he
was interested in finding a way out of the diplomatic problems with Colombia
but reaffirmed his decision to keep relations with Colombia frozen because he
considered the agreement that Colombian president Alvaro Uribe and United States
president Barack Obama are thinking of signing regarding the installation of
seven US bases in Colombia a "serious act and a betrayal."
Chavez also said that if Colombia
continues with its project to install the military bases, "unfortunately we
will continue revising our relations… our political, economic, energy and
"It's a betrayal of what we
[Uribe and Chavez] have been discussing and of the agreements we have made. It's
a betrayal of the hope for South American unity. It betrays the path that we've
begun to construct and with so much difficulty, to develop our own methods in
the struggle against drug smuggling," Chavez said.
Regarding trade with Colombia, he
said, "Until now trade has been normal, we haven't made any drastic decisions."
However, on Friday the minister
for commerce, Eduardo Saman, along with other Venezuelan representatives, met
with the foreign minister of Argentina, Jorge Taiana, in Buenos Aires, and
later with the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez, to discuss
alternative trade possibilities.
Saman said the Venezuelan
government needs to substitute what it imports from Colombia, as Colombia sells
products at very expensive prices, and it would be cheaper to import from
Argentina. When Chavez instructed the Venezuelan ambassador to leave Colombia,
he also said the government would examine Venezuela's economic relations with
Colombia and consider importing from other countries.