Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos repeated Wednesday that Venezuela’s “Bolivarian revolution” had failed after years of trying to maintain a cordial relationship with the troubled neighbor.
At least three people were killed in Colombia’s neighbor to the east amid mass protests of both pro-government and anti-government protesters calling on President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
Venezuelans been strongly divided over their government for over 15 years. However, ever since the collapse of the price of oil, Venezuela’s main export product, the country has had increasing economic and fiscal problems.
At the same time, Maduro has increasingly tightened his grip on government, while blaming capitalists from the US and Colombia for fueling the crisis and arresting opposition leaders on dubious charges.
The Santos has long remained prudent about the neighboring country’s issues, but recalled his ambassador earlier this month after Venezuela’s National Assembly was stripped of its powers.
“Six years ago I warned [Maduro’s predecessor Hugo] Chavez: the Bolivarian Revolution has failed,” Santos tweeted.
Hace 6 años se lo advertí a Chávez: la revolución bolivariana fracasó
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) April 20, 2017
He had said the same in 2015 amid a bilateral crisis over Venezuela’s shock decision to suddenly deport thousands of Colombian citizens, creating a major humanitarian crisis at the border.
The ongoing crisis in Venezuela has caused an exodus of Venezuelans and Colombian residents in Venezuela, opposite to a decade ago when Venezuela took in hundreds of thousands of Colombian war refugees.
More than 2,500 Venezuelans were deported from Colombia for working in the neighboring country illegally, while migration authorities said to have received 11,000 Venezuelan requests for work visas.
Total immigration statistics are not available, partly because millions have dual Colombian-Venezuelan citizenship.
The liberal Santos administration has proposed to mediate between Maduro and the opposition to resolve the crisis, but without response from Caracas.
Colombia’s foreign minister, Maria Angela Holguin, on Wednesday called on UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez to “pay attention to the worrying militarization of Venezuelan society” after Maduro had implied he would arm supporters in defense of his government.