Venezuela accused Colombia of a hateful anti-Venezuelan campaign on Tuesday in response to a letter of protest over Venezuelan claims over disputed maritime borders in the Caribbean.
Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry published a press release accusing the Colombian government of engaging in “blackmail and media lies” instead of valid diplomatic channels to settle a diplomatic dispute between the two neighboring countries over the exact position of the maritime border between the two countries.
A month ago, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed a decree establishing an operational Integral Maritime Defense Zone and Insular (Zodimain) in an area of the Caribbean Sea that is claimed by both countries.
In a letter of protest issued from Bogota on Saturday, Colombia’s foreign minister Maria Angela Holguin argued that the decree implied the sending of troops to border areas in the Caribbean that are still in effective territorial dispute, and Venezuela’s operation would be breaching international law.
In the letter, Holguin called on the Venezuelan government to “avoid unilateral measures, and to privilege sensitivity when it comes to sensitive issues as those regarding maritime sovereignty and jurisdiction.”
Venezuela, however, rejected the protest and condemned “the hateful anti-Venezuelan campaign, coming from Bogota”, and its promotion of “enmity and confrontation between two brotherly countries.”
in spite the hostile tone, Venezuela proposed to discuss and solve the issues in a bilateral commission.
On a final note, the Venezuelan government expressed that “Venezuela ratifies its bonds of friendship and union between the two republics, which share more than common stories, we share the desire of Latin American Bolivarian unity and peace for our people.”
Colombia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maria Angela Holguin, responded from Havana, Cuba, where she is taking part in peace talks between the government and rebel group FARC.
The minister expressed her discontent with Venezuela’s response to the protest letter, which explicitly asked for sensitivity.
Holguin also reiterated to the press that she seeks a diplomatic solution to the dispute.
President Juan Manuel Santos said that he would accept a bilateral commission and said that Venezuela’s response was not the adequate response to a formal complaint.
“Venezuela’s press release is not an answer to our proposal. For this commission to be formed and to meet, a response of the Venezuelan government to our formal complaint is required,” Santos said.
Comunicado de prensa del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Colombia (Colombia’s Foreign Ministry)
Venezuela repudia campañas antivenezolanas que se desarrollan en Colombia (Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry)
Comunicado de Venezuela no es una respuesta a nota de protesta de Colombia (President’s Office)