Venezuela President Hugo Chavez asked Colombia to sit down with the country’s largest rebel group FARC and to not sign a military agreement with the United States.
Chavez, on a short trip to Spain, called on “all Colombians” to “be the first” to reject U.S. military presence in their country and asked the Colombian government to find ways to end the war with leftist guerrilla groups FARC and ELN.
“They should listen to us who speak of peace and propose them to sit down,” Chavez said, adding he was sure Spain, Brazil and Argentina are available to mediate peace efforts.
On the other hand, the Venezuelan Head of State said the expansion of U.S. military presence in Colombia would only make peace efforts more difficult as the U.S. soldiers “will bring more arms of war.”
“Colombians should be the first to reject the installation of Yankee military bases on sacred Colombian soil,” Chavez said in his particular way.
“Colombians and Venezuelans have been victims of violence for a long time. In Colombia there is a war, they much recognize this, there is a war like there was in Central America, like there was a civil war in Spain and the Spanish resolved it by sitting down to talk,” said the Venezuelan President.
Chavez is in Spain finishing an international tour that took him to allies Russia, Libya, Syria, Iran and Belarus.
Colombia’s plans to allow U.S. soldiers to use Colombian bases for antinarcotics and counterinsurgency operations, strained relations with Venezuela, who Colombia accuses of aiding the FARC.