President Alvaro Uribe on Monday accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of trying to interfere in the Colombian elections, after the socialist leader warned that if Juan Manuel Santos becomes president there could be war in the region, reports El Tiempo.
“That intimidation, that undue interference by a foreign government, offends the Colombian people and offends all candidates, whether they share or oppose the views of the government,” said Uribe after a meeting in Puerto Berrio, Antioquia.
“The Colombian people will not accept this blackmail. The Colombian people are a people who vote in conscience, taking into account the deliberations of every citizen,” Uribe added.
Santos said Monday that he would ignore the remarks from the Venezuelan president, saying “to foolish words, deaf ears.”
Santos has accused Chavez of meddling in Colombia’s presidential campaign, but the Venezuelan leader denied Sunday that he is trying to influence the outcome of the election.
Relations between Chavez and Uribe have been rocky for years, but frictions have worsened in recent months over Colombia’s agreement to give the U.S. increased access to its military bases – a deal that Chavez calls a threat to Venezuela.