General Freddy Padilla, outgoing commander of the Colombian military, predicted Thursday that the administration of Juan Manuel Santos will defeat the guerrilla, and dismissed the possibility of a war with Venezuela.
“I am convinced that the next four years will be the the culmination of the end of the end for all the organizations which attack the Colombian people,” the general predicted in an interview with the newspaper El Tiempo.
Asked about Venezuelan allegations that Colombia planned to attack its eastern neighbor, Padilla dismissed the claims as “pure gossip.”
The general made similar comments in an interview with the Venezuelan daily El Universal, when he said that a conflict between Colombian and Venezuelan forces was “absolutely unthinkable.”
“I believe that in view of such strong historical, commercial and brotherly relations, this idea of war never crossed my mind,” Padilla said. He added that Colombians were seeking help from the “Venezuelan brothers,” to finish off “the narco-terrorism which has done so much damage to our nation.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that he welcomed Padilla’s comments.
“Today I received with affection the message sent by the commander general of the Colombian army,” Chavez said, adding that he agreed with the proposition that there should not be a war between the countries.
Padilla will hand over his post of the head of the armed forces to Edgar Agosto Cely, in a ceremony that will take place Friday in Bogota. On the same day, the former general will be appointed as Colombian ambassador to Austria.
Padilla had been previously been offered the post of ambassador to the U.N..