Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that his country plans to respond to allegations of guerrilla presence in Venezuela that Colombia will present to the Organization of American States Thursday.
During a meeting with Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo, Chavez told reporters “the Colombian government has launched another barrage of attacks. We will not be provoked.”
“I have instructed the foreign minister not to be provoked. Tomorrow [Thursday] we will start the diplomatic battle in the OAS,” the president said.
The leader said the role of responding to Colombia’s allegations had been given to Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton.
Chaderton will join Colombian representative Luis Alfonso Hoyos before the permanent council at the OAS to discuss the allegations.
The Colombian government claims to have satellite photos, videos and intelligence from rebel deserters that proves several commanders are living in Venezuela, including FARC leader “Ivan Marquez.” Several ELN leaders are also alleged to be hiding out in the country, close to Colombian border city of Villa del Rosario.
The Venezuelan government has always vehemently denied allegations that guerrillas are hiding in its territory, with Chavez claiming that this is a last ditch attempt on the part of outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to sabotage the incoming Colombian government’s relations with Venezuela.
Both countries have now recalled their respective ambassadors.
The Ecuadorean ambassador to the OAS resigned Wednesday, following pressure from Ecuador’s foreign minister to cancel the Thursday OAS meeting.
Colombia and Venezuela have had difficult relations ever since March 2008 when Colombia accused the Venezuelan government of financially sponsoring the FARC, considered a terrorist group by Bogota, Washington and Brussels.