For the second time, Venezuela postponed a meeting of its defense minister and his Colombian counterpart about an ongoing border crisis between the neighboring countries.
The meeting was originally supposed to take place on Tuesday in the northern Colombian city Santa Marta. It was postponed to Wednesday but again Venezuelan Minister of Foriegn Affairs, Delcy Rodriguez delayed the meeting, this time without suggesting another date and without giving an explanation.
The purpose of the postponed meeting was to discuss the border closures between the two neighboring countries which have been causing a humanitarian crisis on the Colombian side since Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro originally closed the border on August 19.
Maduro closed an important border crossing after three soldiers were attacked, he declared a state of emergency on August 21 and since then has closed more border crossings allegedly to combat Colombian smuggling and paramilitary activity in Venezuelan territory.
Colombian defense minister Luis Carlos Villegas and his Venezuelan equivalent Vladimir Padrino were set to discuss the interconnected matters of the smuggling of food and petrol across the border as well as the presence of paramilitaries in the area.
This delayed meeting was one in a series of ministerial meetings which were agreed on September 23 in Caracas at a summit led by the Minister of foreign affairs for Colombia and Venezuela respectively, Maria Angela Holguin and Delcy Rodriguez.
Villegas was positive about these meetings, telling Colprensa after the summit in Caracas that he hoped the two countries would be able to cooperate to create a sensible plan for resolving the border crisis.
This series of ministerial meetings were to follow the meeting between Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro on September 21 in Quito, Ecuador in which they agreed to attempt to resolve the situation and bring the border area back to normality.
However, after this meeting Maduro said that the border could remain closed for six more months and this latest indefinite delay certainly does not inspire confidence in a swift resolution.
Venezuela has been accused of many counts of human rights violations committed during the deportation of over 1,000 Colombians. A further 20,000 Colombians fled Venezuela for fear of persecution causing a huge influx of migrants at the Colombian side of the border.