Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermúdez was forced to correct
statements made by his Defense colleague Juan Manuel Santos about
former Venezuelan Minister José Vicente Rangel. The Minister had called
the possible candidate for the OAS secretary Jose Vicente Rangel
“Colombia’s worst enemy.”
Santos — considered a hawk in the cabinet of President Álvaro Uribe — Thursday figuratively asked God to “protect and favor us [Colombians]” when asked about Rangel as possible Venezuelan candidate for the OAS Presidency.”He is Colombia’s worst enemy. Godforbid this happens,” he added.
According to Santos, the Colombian government would object Rangel’s candidacy if he were to be nominated.
The former vice-President of Colombia’s leftist neighbor and current talkshow host has always been one of Santos’ fiercest critcs and in reaction to the comments said his possible candidacy came from Santos’ “labatory of rumors and falsehoods.”
Bermúdez was forced to retract his colleague’s statements, whose comments earlier caused diplomatic friction between the two neighbors on several occasions.
“The Foreign Ministry disapproves of statements of Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos with respect to any nominations to the Secretary Generalof the OAS. The Government of Colombia does not speak about hypothetical situations,” Bermúdez said in a statement.
The Foreign Minister repeated that only Uribe and himself were allowed to make official Goverment statements about foreign issues.
The relation between Venezuela and Colombia has been fragile since the Colombian March 1 attack on a FARC camp in Ecuador.