“Alvaro Uribe’s presence in the campaign of the opposition candidate is inherent,” said the President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello. “While Chavez commands the people, Uribe commands Capriles,” he added in reference to the country’s mercurial leader, Hugo Chavez.
Cabello warned that Capriles represents the repressive values of the right, in direct opposition to Chavez’ socialist leanings. He also accused Uribe of maintaining close ties with Colombia’s paramilitary groups during his presidential tenure between 2002 and 2008.
Capriles, who serves as the governor of the state of Miranda, asked Uribe to keep his nose out of his country’s affairs. “I am telling ex-President Uribe, like [current] President [Juan Manuel] Santos, like any other head of state or former president, do not interfere with Venezuela’s electoral process because we Venezuelans will solve our own problems and do not want the interference of any country,” he said at a May 14 rally.
Uribe has been a vocal critic of Chavez, accusing the head of state of harboring FARC members, covering up skyrocketing murder rates and forming “a new style dictatorship,” following his 1998 election.
“When you begin to have a government that expropriates private companies, wastes [public] resources, doesn’t respect the freedom of the press(…), manipulating the justice system and placing justice in the hands of criminals, that’s where you have the consolidation, not of a democratic government, but of a dictatorship under the guise of elections,” Uribe said in a public statement earlier this month.
Chavez commented Monday on Colombia’s ongoing armed conflict that continues to affect his country. “I hope that Colombia can put an end to this conflict that has done so much damage to Colombia for so long, and also hurts some of its neighbors, including Venezuela,” he said, claiming his country is the “most affected” by Colombia’s armed struggle.
“I insist that we need to always strengthen [international] relations. Unfortunately, there will always be people and sectors committed to making these relationships fail,” he added.
“The situation to which you refer is in the hands of the Venezuelan state institutions,” Chavez said. “It’s a case that will progress at a pace suitable to (…) the decisions that need to be taken.”
Colombian officials have repeatedly requested that the guerrilla be extradited to face charges of kidnapping, rebellion and murder.