Colombia’s Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez says that it was his nation’s “political and constitutional responsibility”to submit allegations that Colombian leftist guerrillas are hiding out in Venezuela to the Organization of American States (OAS).
Speaking in an interview given to the Ecuadorean network Ecuavisa on Tuesday, Bermudez said that “It would have been easier to pack our bags a month ago and leave sensitive issues alone,” and added that Colombia had to “keep trying formulas in order to advance” in the fight against guerrilla forces.
“The easiest thing would probably have been … to say nothing, but we have a political responsibility that we are fulfilling, which is our duty,” Bermudez said, adding that “it will be easier for the next government, because we assumed this public political cost, and not the other way round.”
In a press statement also released on Tuesday, the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the government was prepared to continue the debate “about the concerns expressed before the permanent council of the OAS” but sought solutions, and not discussions in reference to the alleged presence of FARC and ELN guerrillas in Venezuela.
The press release also stated that “Colombia’s interest is to achieve effective cooperation.”
Venezuela cut all diplomatic ties with Colombia and vowed to further restrain trade between the countries, after Colombia presented allegation of the existence of 87 Colombian guerrilla bases on Venezuelan soil.
A heated diplomatic crisis has ensued, with Venezuela on Monday requesting that the United Nations (UN) distribute a letter to member states explaining the socialist country’s decision to break all diplomatic ties with Colombia.
Caracas on Monday also announced it had increased the number of troops guarding the Colombian border. “We sent an enforcement of 980 to 1,000 troops that will join the border patrol guards, but there are no extraordinary operations,” General Franklin Marquez of the Venezuelan National Guard was quoted by press.
Both the outgoing administration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and the incoming one of President-elect Juan Manuel Santos have made little comment on the diplomatic feud, although the Colombian government did announce that economic aid will be provided to border areas affected by the crisis.
Incoming Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said Monday that the incoming administration will not comment until Santos assumes office on August 7.
Representative from UNASUR member states will meet on Thursday in Ecuador to discuss the rupture of relations between Colombia and Venezuela.