The biggest challenge for Colombia’s new ambassador, Jose Fernando Bautista, to Venezuela is the re-establishing of trust between the two countries, he said Wednesday.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos named Bautista the country’s new ambassador to Caracas on Tuesday amid both countries’ efforts to re-establish ties that were broken by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a few weeks before Santos’ inauguration in August.
In an interview with newspaper El Tiempo, Bautista said “the most important will be to re-establish trust in the political field, which is going very well with the decisions taken by Presidents Chavez and Santos and their foreign ministers.”
A first step in improving these relations is Venezuela’s reimbursement of the reportedly $800 million owed to Colombian exporters. According to Bautista, 25-30% of this debt has been paid and he expects the remainder to follow soon. An improvement of the economic relations is of great importance since Venezuela shall leave the Community of Andean Nations in April, and Colombia hopes to establish new commercial relations with it’s neighboring country, said the new ambassador.
Another priority of Bautista is border security as it was Colombian accusations that Caracas was allowing Colombian guerrillas on its territory what caused the socialist nation to break ties with Colombia.
“Of course we will discuss everything concerning security, border security and the security of both nations”, Bautista said. “The report I received from the Minister of Defense is that these things are going very well.” he added.
Bautista will fly to the Venezuelan capital on Saturday to take position as Colombia’s new ambassador.