Posted by Edward Fox on Feb 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Ex-Minister Arias condemns reconciliation with Venezuela

Colombia news - andres arias

Former Minister for Agriculture Andres Felipe Arias used his speech at the “Conservative Party Thought in the 21st Century,” forum to attack Colombia’s renewed ties with Venezuela, W Radio reported Thursday.

Arias referred to Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, as an “oppressive tyrant,” and a “deranged dictator,” before taking aim at President Juan Manuel Santos’ and Chavez’s proclamations last year that they are “new best friends.”

The politician, a former presidential hopeful who was referred to as “Uribito” for his closeness to ex-President Alvaro Uribe, said “That dictator who tortures political prisoners and censors ideas will never be the friend of people with [our] line of thought.”

He also said that he will never forget evidence that came to light last year of Venezuela allowing FARC and ELN encampments within its territory.

Under Santos, Colombia and Venezuela have experienced a thaw in previously difficult diplomatic relations, which broke down under Uribe.

A Colombian delegation of Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados and Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera travelled to Venezuela on Wednesday to discuss establishing new agreements on trade and border security.