Traffic flow at the Colombia-Venezuela border has returned to normal one day before the Union of South American States (UNASUR) meeting, which will address the Colombian allegations that Venezuela is harboring guerillas, reports TeleSUR.
Venezuelan regional command chief Franklin Marquez denied that the Venezuelan military had been beefed up along the border with Colombia, saying that troops were in their “usual” positions in order to “preserve the integrity of our people and what goes in and out of the border.”
TeleSUR reporter Jordan Rodriguez, who is currently in the area, said that “there are troops on the border to the side of Venezuela, but it is the normal detachment.”
Meanwhile, sales of gas from Colombia to Venezuela continued as normal, unaffected by the trade suspension which Venezuela announced last week.
The gas manager of Colombian state owned Ecopetrol, Boris Villa Gallo, said that the ongoing trade was between businesses and was not affected by the suspension.
“Such is the strength of the contract, in force since 2008, that episodes of political and diplomatic tension recorded since then have never affected the performance of the obligations of the parties,” Gallo said.
Colombia’s exports to Venezuela were worth $652 million between January and May of 2010, 71.4% lower than the same period in 2009.
Chavez closed the Colombian embassy in Caracas and gave diplomatic staff 72 hours to leave the country.
The Venezuelan government has always vehemently denied allegations that rebels are hiding in its territory and has denounced Colombia’s decision to publicly present the evidence as “a pathetic media show.”
Venezuela first froze diplomatic relations in 2009, after Colombia signed an agreement granting the U.S. military access to seven Colombian army bases. Chavez has consistently expressed his belief that the pact is an attempt to undermine regional sovereignty.