Already tense relations between Colombia and Venezuela reached new highs on Monday as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the Colombian government of condoning a plot to assassinate him.
The remarks came during a televised state address from Vietnam, where Maduro is completing a state tour to that country as well as China. The Venezuelan president didn’t give any details or evidence in support of his accusation, but promised to proffer them later.
“From Bogota they are now attacking us; I have evidence which I will show how Bogota is making a campaign to kill me,” Maduro said.
The Venezuelan president added that spin doctor Juan Jose Rendon is participating in the plot from Miami. Rendon is a Venezuelan political strategist who consults for right-wing parties in Latin America. Maduro has previously named him Rendon “public enemy number one.”
Maduro and his political allies have previously claimed Colombian and US ties to an alleged plot to have him assassinated and asserted that this plot implicated former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, an opponent of the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos.
None of these previous allegations were ever supported by evidence.
Maduro’s latest accusations bring a new level to the fiery rhetoric that has been exchanged between the two countries since Maduro closed the border and deported over 1,000 Colombians in an effort to combat illegal smuggling and Colombian “paramilitarism.”
More than 8,000 Colombians have since fled the neighboring country’s border region fearing persecution and abuse by state forces.
The organization of South American nations, UNASUR, will take up the conflict between Colombia and Venezuela on September 8, after Maduro’s Asian tour.
Colombia had also attempted to bring the issue to the Organization of American States on Monday, but failed to secure the requisite 18 votes to put it on the agenda.
Maduro commented that he “anxiously” awaits the meeting at UNASUR, saying “all the evidence that I have on the economic war against the Venezuelan currency and paramilitary smuggling and hoarding” will be presented.
Venezuela is going through an economic crisis that has led to scarcity of products and one of the highest inflation levels in Latin America.
The country’s political situation has long been tense and threatens to get worse as National Assembly elections are set for December.