Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said Friday that although his concerns about a potential Venezuelan “peasant militia” may be “inconvenient,” they remain true.
In an interview with El Espectador, Silva said that despite being criticised by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe after the defense minister publicly voiced concerns that the militia’s “weapons will end up filtering down or being sold to delinquents, narco-terrorists, drug traffickers and criminal gangs,” he could not deny that he felt the threat was real.
Uribe on Tuesday called for Silva to refrain from making public statements about Venezuela without first consulting him.
However, Silva stressed Friday that relations between him and the president remain good, using the analogy that Uribe enjoys horse-riding and that the only two people who know how to mount a horse are himself and Jaime Bermudez.
Speaking to reporters Silva explained that diplomatic relations have been frozen between Colombia and Venezuela since Colombia’s agreement to allow the United States to use military bases around the country last year.
Following a shouting match between Uribe and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Rio Group Summit in Mexico last Monday the socialist leader invited Uribe to “sit down and talk like gentlemen”.
Uribe’s only response so far to the proposal has been to say on Friday, “When we see that relations are improving between neighboring countries we are made happy, when we see that they are going backwards we are saddened.”
Uribe has also reportedly acknowledged an agreement that the two countries will refrain from making offensive statements about each other.