Chavez, Uribe aide clash over Venezuela trip

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Colombia’s former presidential adviser Jose Obdulio Gaviria publicly clashed this weekend over Gaviria’s planned visit to a Venezuelan opposition leader.

Gaviria, a cousin of slain drug lord Pablo Escobar and one of Uribe’s closest allies, planned to visit Venezuela to offer assistance to the mayor of the town of Chachao regarding security in the region.

On Saturday, Chavez warned Colombia’s former presidential adviser that authorities would not allow Gaviria and Alfredo Rangel, a security analyst who aligned with Uribe, entrance to Venezuela and would throw then in jail if they were to enter Venezuela illegally.

“In Venezuela it is not possible that experts, especially those on democratic issues, offer their assistance,” Gaviria responded Sunday.

According to the controversial Uribe aide, Chavez “very enthusiastically receives [FARC leaders] ‘Timochenko’, ‘[Rodrigo] Granda’, ‘Ivan Marquez’ or ‘El Cantante’, rebel commander, and Piedad Cordoba, a former senator who mediated in favor of these guerrillas,” the former presidential adviser added.

Uribe and his team have increasingly been involved with Venezuelan opposition figures who face Chavez in next year’s elections.

Colombia’s former President is one of Chavez’s fiercest critics and has accused the venezuelan leader of supporting Colombian rebel groups and meddling in last year’s Colombian elections.

Gaviria has been accused in Colombia of masterminding the illegal wiretapping of Uribe opponents and meeting with paramilitary representatives inside the presidential palace.

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