Colombian congressmen applaud Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for extraditing an ELN commander, but add he has no choice but to fight Colombian guerrillas in order to avoid an internal crisis.
According to Caracol Radio, several congressmen that make part of the Congress’ international committee said Chavez “does well” to commit to improving security in the Colombo-Venezolan border region, but added that the Venezuelan government has little choice, because another collapse in trade between the two countries could cause a social crisis in Venezuela.
“Chaves has no alternative. Venezuela is at the edge of an internal crisis and the reestablishment of ties is giving him more air,” Liberal Party Senator Guillermo Garcia told the radio station.
According to Camilo Romero, senator for the socialist Polo Democratico, the extradition of ELN commander “Tulio” – expected to take place within days – is the first step towards the arrest of other Colombian rebel leaders that sought refuge in neighboring Venezuela.
“We must trust in the word of President Chavez. We must trust what President (Juan Manuel) Santos says. This way we can have better relations in every sense: politically and economically,” the leftist Senator said.
Caracol Radio said the congressmen trust Santos will know how to manage the new relations with Chavez.
The extradition of Nilson Albian Teran Ferreira, alias “Tulio” is the first extradition of a Colombian guerrilla to his home country under President Santos. A large number of Colombian guerrillas and neo-paramilitary figures are suspected to have sought refuge in Venezuelan territory.
Following the inauguration of Santos in August, Chavez vowed to improve security in the border region where according to Venezuelan sources crime is rampant and Colombian armed groups are extorting the local population.