Colombia's President Iván Duque Tuesday told the European Parliament that Latin America was not going to be the stage of “geopolitical games of other nations,” which highly resemble the Cold War between the United States and its allies against the Soviet Union. His remarks were pointing at Russia's increasing military presence in Venezuela.
Regarding the Ukraine crisis, Duque insisted one issue had nothing to do with the other unless Venezuela is being seen as a scenario to try to generate geopolitical threats.
The South American leader also underlined in Strasbourg (France) that what we have in Venezuela is a dictatorship, which shelters Colombian terrorist groups. Hence the presence of military personnel from third countries in Venezuela, in this context, [which] has never ceased to worry us.
Duque also described President Nicolás Maduro's regime as disgraceful and the most brutal that Latin America has seen in years.
Moscow's ambassador to Bogotá Nikolay Tavdumadze has in recent weeks decried his country's perplexity at the continuous baseless attempts to accuse the Government of President Vladimir Putin of alleged interference in the internal affairs of Colombia.
Tavdumadze's words came after Defense Minister Diego Molano spoke of foreign interference as Venezuelan troops were deployed towards the Colombian border and highlighted the help Maduro had received from both Moscow and Tehran. Tensions waned down after a meeting between the Russian ambassador and the Colombia's Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez.
Duque also recalled Tuesday that, during that meeting, Tavdumadze had in fact ackowledged the presence of Russian troops in Venezuela. The Colombian leader also said hostilities could also stem from computer hackers willing to undermine this year's elections. We have to be able to defend our democracy from foreign influence or interference, from those who seek to manipulate algorithms or from those who also seek to generate hatred and fracture, he explained, although he did not mention who exactly could be behind those tactics.
Colombia will hold parliamentarian elections March 13, simultaneoulsy to the presidential primaries, as political coalitions from the left, center and right vie to find a successor to Duque on May 29. Duque and European Parliament Speaker Roberta Metsola confirmed MEPs will be present at both elections for monitoring purposes.