Colombian presidential candidates are divided in their reactions to comments by the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, regarding alleged interference by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in the Colombian electoral process.
Partido de la U’s Juan Manuel Santos, who has received the most criticism from the Venezuelan head of state, said that the OAS should “grab the bull by the horns” and put Chavez’s alleged attempts to interfere on the organization’s agenda.
Rafael Pardo, candidate for the Liberal Party, was even fiercer in demanding that the OAS step up. Pardo called Inzulsa’s remarks “weak” and said the OAS chief “is not able to judge whether these statements have effect or not.”
Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus said he agreed with Insulza’s “perceptions” and added that he doesn’t think Chavez’s remarks have much impact in the country, because Colombia “has the antibodies to respond to statements by a neighboring country that tries to interfere” in the election.
The candidates were reacting to comments made earlier Wednesday by Insulza that Chavez’s statements are “bad practice” but do not constitute “intervention” in the Colombian electoral process.
On several occasions, Chavez criticized Colombian presidential candidates. Santos’ election as president “would be a threat to the region” and socialist candidate “Gustavo Petro is a coward,” according to the Venezuelan leader.
Colombia’s presidential elections are scheduled for May 30.