Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who on Tuesday had said to be ready to “turn the page” with Colombia and improve relations, on Friday made clear that this would not happen if Colombians elect “mafioso” Juan Manuel Santos into office.
Chavez threatened to completely end trade with Colombia, which he has now “frozen” as a protest to current Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s decision to allow the U.S. military to use Colombian military bases and airports for U.S. military operations.
“Let me make this clear to the people of Colombia,” Chavez said on national television. “I hope that Colombia will have a decent government and when I mean decent I think that means whichever candidate, except for mister Santos, mister war, the number one yankee lapdog of Colombia.”
Chavez said that Colombians can forget any kind of relations with their neighboring country if they elect Santos, “who is a real mafioso.”
The socialist president, who denies trying to influence the Colombian elections in any way, continued saying that “if the people of Colombia … would disgracefully vote mister Santos (…) I will not receive him.”
Santos himself on Thursday said he would welcome talks with Venezuela, after Chavez’s words he was ready to “turn the page.”
Venezuelan relations with Colombia have been rocky for years, but hit an all-time low in November when the U.S. and Colombia signed a military pact. Chavesz, one of the Americans’ fiercest critics in the region, considers this pact a threat for the region.