Venezuela rejected Colombia’s offer to help the socialist nation’s “electricity emergency” by selling it extra power. Venezuela has not yet responded to overtures by the Colombian government to repair severed diplomatic relations.
Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua declined Colombia’s offer as “unnecessary” because “the electricity system in the country will have normalized by May”.
President Hugo Chavez had declared a state of “electricity emergency” last week, attributing the crisis to the El Niño phenomenon.
The socialist nation is yet to respond to Colombia’s attempts to start a dialogue that could lead to the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Colombia-Venezuelan relations deteriorated after Colombia signed an agreement with the U.S. that allows the Americans to use military bases and civilian airports for counternarcotics and counterterrorism missions.
The controversial accord grants U.S. military personnel access to airbases across Colombia, supposedly with the objective of combatting terrorism and drug trafficking in the country. Chavez considers the arrangement the greatest current threat to Latin America as a whole.
The border region has long been a source of tension between the countries, as Venezuela accuses Colombia of allowing right-wing paramilitary fighters to enter Venezuelan territory, while Colombia says the border is often crossed by left-wing guerrillas seeking refuge in the neighboring country.
Frozen diplomatic relations have adversely affected the Colombian economy, with exports to Venezuela down 79% in December 2009.