Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday ruled out the possibility of a swift normalization of ties with neighboring Colombia, snubbing an offer of goodwill from his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe.
“He says he wants to fix the relationship when he is
wounding well-intentioned brothers and neighbors, supporting a U.S policy to
divide us,” Chavez said during his weekly “Alo Presidente” TV program.
On Friday, Uribe said at a meeting of entrepreneurs
that his country hoped to reconcile with neighbors Venezuela and Ecuador after their relationship has
been snagged repeatedly by diplomatic frictions.
Chavez froze diplomatic ties with Colombia on July
28, in response to Colombia’s talks with the U.S. to allow American troops to
use Colombian military bases, and to Colombia’s accusations that Caracas is
helping Colombian guerrillas to get weapons.
“They are defaming and harassing us,” Chavez said.
The U.S. bases are a threat to the region, and the U.S. is seeking access to
South American energy, water and food resources, he said.
Venezuela shares a 2,220-kilometer border with
Colombia and there is a natural gas pipeline running between the two countries.
Chavez also reiterated Venezuela’s goal of deepening
relations with fellow South American nations, in a bid to counteract U.S.
influence in the region. He again urged Washington to pull out its military
bases from Latin America and stop interfering in other nations’ internal