Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles on Thursday rejected his government’s threat to withdraw its support for ongoing peace talks in Colombia in response to a meeting between Capriles and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
In an interview with Colombian radio station Blu Radio, Capriles said “peace can not be a tool for blackmail; You either want peace and you work towards peace or you don’t want peace. There can’t be positions in between.”
The opposition leader’s first of a number of visits to Latin American countries spurred a furious response of the Venezuelan government, who is at odds with the opposition over the outcome of presidential elections and one of the countries that accompanies ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC.
“Today’s situation obligates us to study Venezuela’s participation as a facilitator in the peace accord,” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said after Capriles’ visit to the Colombian presidential palace and Congress.
According to the Venezuelan opposition leader, the Venezuelan government has no right to “tell Colombia who to receive.”
In response to Venezuela’s furious reaction to the unofficial visit, Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said her government would be in direct contact with the Maduro administration about the current situation.
The tensions with Venezuela are the first since Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos took office. Under his predecessor Alvaro Uribe relations were broken a number of times over the Venezuelan government’s alleged support for Colombian rebel group FARC.