Today, the government of Venezuela casted Colombian diplomats out, put out a military alert on its 1,200 mile border with Colombia, and cut off both trade and diplomatic relations with Colombia. Venezuela, after hearing Colombia declare hundreds of Colombian insurgents with their leaders were based in Venezuela, denied the country was sheltering the rebels.
In a situation that quickly deterioated, Venezuela accused Colombia of consorting with the American military. Colombia fired back with a claim of absolute evidence that proves rebels are based in Venezuela because of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s intense military operations against the rebels. The Colombian government declared that it would take the evidence to the OAS (Organization of American States).
The Colombian government identified the rebel presence as FARC, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionanas de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). Venezuela in the past has tolerated FARC far more than the governments of Colombia and other countries. The list of groups and nations the Chávez government in Venezuela tolerates include Iran which is under fire from the U.N for pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
To add to the animosity between the two South American governments, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez in the past had a tattered diplomatic relationship with the Colombian government under the U Party’s leaders Juan Manuel Santos and Uribe. When the 2010 Colombian elections came pitting Santos against Green Party’s Antanas Mockus, Chávez publicly announced he would be more willing to cooperate with a “Monkus government” than a “Santos government”. Now that former defense minister Santos has won the presidential elections, Chavez seems to be sticking with his preferences of nation friends.
Although alike in their origin from Gran Colombia and in its flags, both Venezuela and Colombia have been hostile towards each other for many years but today’s situation is described as “a new low” for the status of the relations between the two countries.
Seeing the new level of hostility, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, worrying there might be a military conflict between Venezuela and Colombia, has called for an immediate meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to address the grave situation.
Venezuela additionally threatened the U.S it would cut off oil supply to America if the U.S entered an armed conflict in support of Colombia.
(Cover Picture: AFP/GETTY)