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Venezuela: Colombia is two-faced

posted by Tom Davenport

Gustavo Marquez ambassador

The Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia, Gustavo Marquez, accused Monday the Colombian governement of pursuing a “two-faced policy” towards its eastern neighbor.

“They have been pursuing a two-faced policy, on the one hand, they want Venezuela to completely open its doors to trade, while on the other hand, they systematically assault Venezuela with unfounded accusations,” Marquez said, referring to to claims Bogota presented last week to Organization of American States (OAS) that Colombian guerrillas were hiding in the Venezuelan jungle.

Speaking in an interview with the Venezuelan state broadcaster Telesur, Marquez stressed that “two neighbors cannot deal with each other solely on commercial terms.” The Venezuelan said that the relationship needed “respect for human rights, respect for the sovereignty of our country” and for Colombia to cease “promoting destabilization processes.”

The senior diplomat criticized Colombia for “playing the victim,” saying it was in fact the villain. According to Marquez, Bogota was portraying Chavez’s decision to break relations with his neighbor as the cause of the tension between the two countries, when the crisis was triggered by the Colombians themselves, when they “put on that show at the OAS.”

In a words which echoed the plea made by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro on Sunday, Marquez called for “peace, reconciliation and a coming together of peoples.”

“Colombia and Venezuela are brother-peoples, united by blood, by history and we have a common destiny,” he concluded.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cut off all ties with his neighboring state last Thursday, following Colombia’s presentation to the OAS.

Colombia and Venezuela have a long history of strained relations. Colombia has hinted in the past that it suspects Venezuela of harboring left-wing wing guerrillas, while Venezuela has complained of the spillover of Colombia’s lengthy conflict into its borders.

Relations between the neighboring nations were frozen in 2009, after Colombia signed a controversial military pact, which grants the U.S. access to seven military bases around Colombia. The socialist Chavez administration views the pact as a threat to regional sovereignty.

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