Colombia’s government said Wednesday that a Venezuelan incursion in March was a deliberate provocation and said it expected more such provocations while the neighboring country is in crisis.
The Venezuelan soldiers set up camp in Colombian territory on the Colombian side of the Arauca River on March 22, in the second violation of Colombia’s sovereignty this year.
Venezuela army troops set up camp in Colombia
During a debate in Colombia’s Senate, Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin deemed the incursion incident as part of a Venezuelan government strategy to turn the attention away from its current domestic situation.
This is a provocation, there is no confusion about the boundaries of the border, it is a provocation and we are sure that more will come because of the difficult situation that the Venezuelan government finds itself in.
Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin
Colombia’s neighbor to the east is going through a major political, social and even humanitarian crisis, while the administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro finds itself increasingly isolated in the region.
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Colombia’s Minister of Defense, Luis Carlos Villegas, said Colombia will avoid responding to provocations of the neighboring government.
“We must not fall into the temptations of those who play the war drum at all hours,” said Villegas, adding that, “Colombia will not start an international war in Latin America.”
The two countries share a land border, 2,219 kilometers long. Inhabitants of the border areas have reported incursions by the Venezuelan military on several occasions in the past years.