Colombian President Alvaro Uribe asked his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez Monday to implement measures to protect civilian lives on the binational border to prevent tragedies such as the recent killing of eight Colombians from recurring.
The call came despite the crisis in diplomatic relations that has started negatively affecting bilateral trade to the tune of seven billion dollars annually, reported newspaper El Espectador.
“I call upon the Government of Venezuela and its President, that [regardless of differences], we find a way to coordinate efforts to protect the right to life of Colombians and Venezuelans,” President Uribe said.
“It hurts us regardless of whether the crime was committed here or [in Venezuela],” Uribe said.
Of the recent killing of ten amateur footballers in the southern Venezuelan state of Tachira over the weekend, eight were Colombians, who had been missing since an illegal armed group kidnapped them the previous Sunday.
Venezuelan authorities blamed the massacre on the Colombian domestic conflict that has been going on for more than forty years, now spilling across Venezuelan borders.
Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, the most vocal critic of the U.S. in Latin America, says that Colombia allowing the United States to use military bases on its territory is part of Washington’s intention to invade Venezuelan territory and block Chavez’s “Bolivarian revolution” for the poor.
However, President Uribe argues that the military bases agreement is only to fight drug trafficking and terrorism and that the it does not allow the U.S. to attack third party countries.