“On a personal level, I believe it was carried out by forces of the extreme right,” Benedetti said in relation to the attack, for which no group has yet claimed responsibility.
“It was a message they wanted to send to the new president. It’s hard to come out with a hypothesis, but this is mine,” the Colombian lawmaker continued. The bomb blast came only four days after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was sworn into office.
Benedetti was in Caracas for weekend talks with Venezuelan officials to discuss normalizing relations between his nation and Venezuela. In an interview with Efe he stressed that it was important to avoid that rebel Colombian group the FARC influence relations between the neighbor nations.
Caracas broke diplomatic ties July 22 after the government of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe publicly alleged that Venezuela was harboring ELN and FARC guerrillas, which Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has strongly denied. Relations were restored during a meeting between the nations’ presidents last Tuesday. Chavez and his Colombian counterpart Santos agreed to create five bilateral commissions designed to tackle the longstanding issues between the two countries.
Benedetti said Sunday that he believes that the bilateral commissions will be “the columns with which to really strengthen trust between Colombia and Venezuela.
“This visit is about discussing how we are going to implement these commissions, about how Santos should handle the [Colombian] peace process, about how the two countries should fight against tourism,” Benedetti said.
“Santos is acting very seriously in seeking this re-establishment [of relations] and there is an excellent and very good sense of willingness regarding what I have been able to speak about with members of the Venezuelan government. So now is the opportunity” to work at restoring ties, Benedetti said.
Regarding his scheduled meeting Monday with Santos, Benedetti said he only wanted to explain to the Venezuelan leader “how the Colombians see it” and added that the bilateral relationship had been “distorted by both sides,” which has “hindered many things.”
Benedetti is a member of the Partido de la U and a fierce Uribe supporter.