The presidents of Brazil and Nicaragua call for “calm,” as feuding neighbors Colombia and Venezuela head to a Union of South American nations summit, where the diplomatic crisis between the two nations will be addressed.
Brazil President Lula da Silva said that in his opinion “there is no conflict” apart from a “verbal” one, and that it is necessary to “have patience” and remain calm until August 7, when outgoing Colombia President Alvaro Uribe hands over power to his successor Juan Manuel Santos.
Lula said that he will speak with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas August 6, before flying to Bogota the same day to speak with Uribe and Santos. Both visits will seek to address Venezuela’s severing of all ties with Colombia, after Colombia presented allegations to the Organization of American States (OAS) of 87 guerrilla camps located within Venezuela’s border.
“In South America we are working at building peace,” Lula said, adding that the priority is to “recuperate normality” in Caracas-Bogota relations.
Following a meeting with Lula in Brazil capital city Brasilia, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said that “the solution to Colombia’s internal conflict… demands the will of the Colombians to seek peace, to seek agreements that give them security.”
“And that will bring peace and stability to the region, and that will contribute to a new history in Latin America and the Caribbean ,so that we can move towards unity,” Ortega continued.
Representatives from Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, along with those from other South American nations, will attend the UNASUR summit in Quito, Ecuador Thursday, where each of the feuding nations is expected to present a “peace plan” on the crisis.
Colombia and Venezuela have a long history of shaky relations, which have deteriorate since Chavez and Uribe have been in power. Caracas has stated that Venezuela will not consider repairing relations will Uribe remains in office. Prior to breaking all ties with Colombia last week, Chavez had expressed a willingness to work at rebuilding Venezuela’s relationship with its neighbor when Santos assumes the presidency.