Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro announced on Friday that Gustavo Marquez, the socialist nation’s ambassador to Bogota, has been recalled to Caracas for a consultation, following Colombia’s allegations that FARC and ELN guerrillas are hiding out in Venezuela, W Radio reports.
Maduro said that Marquez was asked to return to Venezuela for a meeting so he can be “incorporated into the evaluation of a series of measures [that Venezuela] will take in the coming hours, measures of a political nature.”
The Venezuelan minister said that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe “has decided to dynamite the possibility of a breakthrough. We have met with the ambassador in Caracas and we have delivered an official note of protest rejecting the lies … that Uribe’s government has mounted [against us].”
“What does Uribe want with this? Why with just a few days left of his presidency does he lash out with all his hatred?” Maduro said.
In a press meeting held on Thursday, Colombia’s Defense Minister Gabriel Silva revealed the alleged location of FARC leader “Ivan Marquez,” across the border in Venezuela.
According to W Radio, the information was made public at the request of outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who said he wanted to ensure the presence of guerrillas in Venezuela would be taken into account in the context of future diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Maduro said “It seems the outgoing president of Colombia wants to close [his presidency] with a spectacular end to his work of destruction of relations with Venezuela.” He added that “the pathetic spectacle offered on Thursday is a desperate attempt to undermine the ground of a possible normalization of bilateral relations.”
An official press statement from the Colombian government released on Friday said “For six years the Colombian government kept up a patient dialogue with the Venezuelan government, in which on several occasions it gave information about the location of terrorists in this territory. Everything was unsuccessful with relation to guerrilla leaders. We must think again about going to the international authorities.”
Venezuela broke diplomatic relations altogether in 2009, after Colombia signed a pact that grants the U.S. military access to seven Colombian army bases. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez views the pact as an attempt to undermine regional sovereignty.
Chavez’s government have stated that they will not consider restoring relations while Uribe remains in office.
Colombian President-elect Santos professed himself to be “very pleased” after Chavez expressed willingness to reopen a dialogue with Colombia and attempt to re-establish severed ties.
Prior to Santos’ election on June 20, Chavez was vocal in his contempt for the former defense minister, whom he called “the number one Yankee lapdog of Colombia” and “a real mafioso.”
Before Colombia announced it had proof of guerrilla presence in Venezuela, Chavez had authorized a meeting between his Foreign Minister Maduro and the incoming Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, as a step towards repairing diplomatic ties.
However, on Friday morning the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that “the path of lies, aggression and disrespect towards Venezuela, always prevents the regularization of relations between the governments of our two countries. If this situation continues, the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela would evaluate to take very firm and strong political and diplomatic measures.”