Outgoing Colombian president Alvaro Uribe criticized Tuesday the possibilities of a peace proposal with the Colombian guerrilla groups FARC and ELN and emphasized that Colombia will not fall into the trap of “internationalizing dialogue”.
“Some people want Colombia to take the wrong path again, to ease the noose on the snake so she can again take oxygen and again attack us with its venom. Watch out with that initiative. Some talk about peace but they ignore security”, said Uribe during a ceremony at the Ministry of Defence.
The Colombian president emphasized his rejection to the “internationalization” of a dialogue demand with the guerrillas, although he never mentioned what countries are behind the initiative.
“We’re not going to fall into that trap again. We only demand from the international community that they abide by the agreed international rules we respect: fighting terrorism and offering them no refuge, nowhere”, insisted Uribe who next week, on August 7 will be stepping down after eight years in office and as the most popular Colombian leader in decades.
On that day his former Defence minister Juan Manuel Santos, who won the run off by a landslide four to one, will be sworn is as his successor.
Uribe’s statements come a few hours ahead of the Unasur (Union of South American Nations) Foreign Affairs meeting scheduled for next Thursday in Quito when Venezuela’s abrupt breaking relations with Colombia will be addressed.
President Hugo Chavez severed links reacting to Colombian claims before the Organization of American States that Venezuela ‘tolerated’ in its territory FARC and ELN camps with at least 1.500 guerrillas plus sanctuary for some of the most outstanding leaders of the two seditious organizations (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces and National Liberation Army). Colombia supported its claim with videos, photos, tapes and intercepted phone calls and e-mails.
Venezuelan Foreign Affairs minister Nicolás Maduro is currently on a whirlwind round of visits to several South American countries (Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay) trying to trump support alleging that his country’s sovereignty is at risk, threatened by an attack from Colombia with United States support.
Washington and Bogotá with different arguments denied point blank any possibilities of such plans.
The US State Department said the US “is very pleased and satisfied with the energy links with Venezuela” which happens to be the US fourth oil supplier.
Bogotá stated that the issue is not dialogue, Colombia did not severe relations, but a formal Venezuelan denial, ratified in situ by a neutral commission that effectively those camps are non-existent nor are guerrilla leaders using Venezuela as a haven.
President Chavez rejects the “terrorist group” labels for FARC and ELN (imposed by the US and the EU) arguing they are part of the “Bolivarian revolution” combating regional oligarchies.
He has been in the past and is now again strongly pushing for the “peace dialogue” between the guerrillas and the Colombian government.
With the guerrillas on the run and virtually no public opinion support, and following some spectacular rescue-coups by Colombian special forces, there is no significant ambiance for such a peace dialogue in the country, according to the latest polls.