Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva and Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez met Monday with the Organization of American States (OAS) ambassador to Colombia, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, to discuss the evidence the Andean nation will present to the OAS regarding allegations that leftist guerrillas are hiding out in Venezuela.
Following the meeting, Hoyos told media that “the government is preparing a presentation of the facts and recent material on the allegations made. Colombia asked for a public session; we don’t want to receive any kind of insults, we are going to demand coperation and respect.”
Hoyos said that Venezuela will have the right of reply “where they can say everything they want to and take as much time as they want.”
“There is nothing refried here. Here what there is is evidence that proves that right now the FARC’s narco-terrorism, headed by ‘Ivan Marquez,’ is organizing attacks against Colombia from Venezuela,” Silva said.
The defense minister also met with Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos to discuss their nation’s allegations of the FARC presence in Venezuela. Silva reportedly informed Santos of the entire content of the evidence, which will be presented to the OAS on Thursday.
Caracas has labelled the evidence “a pathetic media show,” with Venezuelan President Hugo 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.
The Venezuelan government has always vehemently denied allegations that guerrillas are hiding in its territory, and maintains that Venezuela is not a guerrilla safe haven.
Venezuela broke diplomatic relations all together in 2009, after Colombia signed a pact that grants the U.S. military access to seven Colombian army bases. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez views the pact as an attempt to undermine regional sovereignty.
Chavez’s government had stated that they would not consider restoring relations while Uribe remained in office.
Before Colombia announced it had proof of guerrilla presence in Venezuela, Chavez had authorized a meeting between his Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and the incoming Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, as a step towards repairing diplomatic ties.
Bermudez denied Monday that the Uribe government sought to sabotage attempts to repair Colombia-Venezuela relations.