July 30, 2010
Venezuela retaliates, severs Colombian diplomatic ties

Accused by the Colombian government of harbouring members of insurgent groups, Venezuela has cut all diplomatic ties with that country.{{more}}

At an Organisation of American States (OAS) meeting that took place in Washington on July 22, 2010, Colombian representatives presented evidence (photographs, video and maps) that they claim proves the Venezuelan government’s involvement in providing a safe haven for Colombian guerillas.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Frias, who vehemently denied the accusation, said that the evidence is fake.

“We have no other choice but, out of dignity, to totally break our relations with our brother nation of Colombia,” Chavez said, live on national television.

In a press statement released by the Venezuelan Embassy in St Vincent & the Grenadines, Ambassador Yoel Perez Marcano stated that the break came in response to “the irresponsible and slanderous conduct of the outgoing government of [Colombian] President Alvaro Uribe Velez”.

Marcano further stated that the Venezuelan government has come to the aid of Colombia several times in the past; including “receiving more than four million refugees and Colombian emigrants, who enjoyed equal rights with Venezuelans in the areas of social security, employment, education and housing”.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, in a BBC article, said that his government is also considering the suspension of flights to the country and eliminating commercial ties.

The Colombian government is demanding that OAS inspectors visit the suspected Venezuelan site; but OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, explained that the body cannot do so without Venezuela’s consent.

So far, neither side looks likely to back down but this may change when newly appointed Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos assumes power.

Venezuelan Ambassador Marcano called on Vincentians and other Caribbean nations to “reject this new act that is intended to affect the peace, friendship and solidarity among the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean”.