Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said Monday that Colombia must not be pressured by “foreign governments” over the choice of its next president in the upcoming May presidential elections.
“Colombians can not allow foreign governments to pressure Colombians to elect the presidential candidate that foreign governments want. Colombians have to elect the candidate that Colombians want, the policies that Colombians want and not policies they want to impose on us from outside,” Uribe said during a Radio Rumbo de Soacha interview.
“We can not allow ourselves … through pressure on Colombia, to have a president imposed on us from outside. The president that we should elect is the president that Colombians want to elect,” Uribe continued.
Uribe’s diatribe was in response to Venezuela’s comment on Sunday that the socialist nation will not repair severed ties with Colombia under Uribe’s presidency.
“We must await the outcome of presidential elections in Colombia and await the arrival of a new president to go forward. All that can be done today is to focus on creating conditions for the time,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said during an appearance on Venezuelan television program “Jose Vicente Hoy.”
Despite Maduro’s comments, he will meet with Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez in Santo Domingo today to discuss repairing ties with Colombia.
The Dominican Republic is heading a “group of friend countries,” which formed following a verbal clash between Uribe and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, to mediate the resumption of broken diplomatic relations after Uribe’s government signed a controversial pact with the U.S., granting the North American superpower access to seven military bases around Colombia.
Fernandez has already met with Colombian delegates in what he called a “positive first meeting.” The Caribbean leader said he was hopeful he could mediate a reconciliation between the sparring countries.
Colombia will hold presidential elections in May. Uribe is not eligible to run, as the Constitutional Court ruled that a proposed referendum to allow his re-election was unconstitutional.
The history of strained relations between Venezuela and front-runner presidential candidate Santos means that the future of diplomatic relations between the two nations is uncertain.
In March 2009, Chavez called Santos “an enemy of Venezuela” who is a “threat to the peace of South America.”