Roy Chaderton, Venezuela’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) stated Friday that his country’s territory has been repeatedly violated by illegal Colombian groups crossing the border, and insisted that the Venezuelan armed forces have fought them, EPA reports.
Speaking from Washington in an interview given to Caracol Radio, the Venezuelan diplomat said Colombian guerrillas and paramilitaries were the concern of the Colombian government and not of neighboring countries.
According to Chaderton, the FARC and ELN’s illegal movement over the Venezuelan border “is caused precisely because the Colombian security forces have failed, they have not known and they have not wanted to defend their territorial space and we should not have to pay for these failures in terms of media scandals.”
Chaderton said Venezuelan territory had been violated “many times” by the guerrillas and paramilitaries and insisted that Venezuela had “handed over FARC and ELN guerrillas to the present Colombian government throughout these years and to previous Colombian government’s as well.” He added that “there has been fighting, but this is not recorded and no-one remembers it.”
“But this they do not register because [Colombia] has preferred to live in a type of media magic realism” said the OAS ambassador.
Chaderton also said that for more than 70 years Venezuela’s sovereignty has been undermined by illegal immigration and Colombian rebel groups, a problem he blames on the Colombian government abandoning the Colombia-Venezuela border.
The ambassador’s comments follow the recent breakdown of diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries.
Chavez broke all relations with Colombia on Thursday, following Colombia’s presentation to the OAS. He 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 of its accusations 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.
Before Colombia announced it had proof of guerrilla presence in Venezuela, Chavez had taken steps towards repairing diplomatic ties and the leader has not dismissed the possibility of reconciliation when Santos’ administration takes office on August 7.
Thursday evening Chavez expressed a hope that with a new Colombian administration may come a new era in bilateral relations between the neighboring nations.
“God willing, Santos will be flooded with the spirit of Latin America and will understand that here the governments of the right and the left can live in harmony. We have an obligation to,” Chavez said, adding that after August 7 there could be “a process of rapprochement.”
Santos has declined to comment on the issue.