Ecuador’s foreign minister said Friday that his country’s president, Rafael Correa, “did not involve himself” in Colombia’s electoral process, despite accusations by presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos, reported news website Terra.
The Ecuadorean official, Ricardo Patiño, denied that Corra sought to influence Santos’ campaign, saying that the president “did not and will not involve himself in this electoral campaign, we respect the autonomous decisions of the Colombian people and we await the results of the election, whatever they may be.”
Patiño spoke in reference to the accusation by the Partido de la U candidate, who on Thursday claimed that “President Correa … want[s] to derail my path to the presidency.”
Santos denounced what he called the “meddling of Ecuadorean justice” in Colombia’s presidential elections, after an Ecuadorean judge issued a warrant for his arrest, for his responsibility in a 2008 Colombian military incursion onto Ecuadorean soil in pursuit of guerrillas. The raid resulted in the death of FARC leader “Raul Reyes” and caused Ecuador to sever diplomatic relations with Colombia, claiming infringement of sovereignty by the Colombian army.
The Ecuadorean foreign minister admitted that the increasing tension between Santos and Correa “had complicated a little” plans to improve diplomatic relations between Ecuador and Colombia and said that “hopefully they are not hampered for very long.”
Santos also clashed with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez over his stance on the 2008 raid, which he said he was “proud” to have authorized.
Chavez said that if the Partido de la U candidate were to make office, a reconciliation between Venezuela and Colombia would be “very difficult” and that “as president, Santos could cause a war in this part of the world.”
Santos and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe both accused Chavez of meddling in Colombia’s presidential campaign, but the Venezuelan leader – like his Ecuadorean counterpart – denied that he is trying to influence the outcome of the election.