Growing unrest in Venezuela threatens uneasy peace with Colombia

World Today

During Colombia’s peace talks to end 50 years of conflict with FARC rebels, Venezuela played a supportive role.  But with growing unrest now in Venezuela, there are signs that relations are deteriorating.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports.

Growing unrest in Venezuela threatens uneasy peace with Colombia

During Colombia's peace talks to end 50 years of conflict with FARC rebels, Venezuela played a supportive role. But with growing unrest now in Venezuela, there are signs that relations are deteriorating. CGTN's Michelle Begue reports.

This week, Caracas called the presence of Colombian tanks along the countries’ joint border a “provocation”.

Colombia’s Defense Minister acknowledged the military presence in the Paraguachi region – but said those troops have been there since 2015, in a crime control capacity.  

“We are not satisfied with the Colombian government’s response because we know that the activities and military actions and the military equipment that is present on the border with Venezuela is not combined with activities to fight against transnational crime and other types of crimes,” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said.

On the heels of last week’s meeting between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and U.S. President Donald Trump, Venezuela is claiming this is all part of an imperialist U.S. plot to destabilize the country.

Meanwhile another Colombia-Venezuela border town is also seeing an increased military presence.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently deployed about 2500 soldiers to the state of Tachira. The decision was made after a night of looting and violence there, amid a wave of anti-government protests.

The militarization of the border has made relations tense between the two countries, but one analyst says Colombia can’t cut off relations with its neighbor.

“Unlike countries like Peru, we can’t break relations with Venezuela because there are 2,200 kilometers of border towns where there is a huge population of Colombian Venezuelans. In fact we are going through one of the largest migrations of Venezuelans in our history, and they are brothers. Some of them have Colombian citizenship,” University El Rosario Political Analyst Ronal Rodriguez said.

While this expert said relations could enter a crisis, he predicts it would never result in war.