Leaders from Peru and Colombia meet as situation worsens in Venezuela

Latin America

Leaders from Peru and Colombia meet as situation worsens in Venezuela

The presidents of Peru and Colombia are meeting to discuss challenges confronting their countries. A big topic on the agenda: the dire economic and humanitarian situation in Venezuela.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports.

The presidents of Colombia and Peru held a news conference in Cartagena on Tuesday, and it was Venezuela which dominated their discussions.

The two leaders called for a fair presidential election in Venezuela planned for this April.

“We are also worried about the destruction of democracy and the violation of rights of Venezuelan citizens. That is why we are working together with Peru, assuming political positions and rejecting what is happening there, and calling for a peaceful and democratic transition,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said.

The two presidents met in Colombia to sign bilateral agreements as part of a joint cabinet meeting.

Since 2014, Colombia and Peru have signed more than 400 different commitments to cooperate on issues such as security and trade.

During Tuesday’s meeting, 11 new agreements were signed. Among them, various projects to develop the 1600 kilometer border between the two countries including the Amazon rain forest.

“But we need more, we need to protect this part of the world, and not let it degrade. This jewel of the world, that generates so much good for all countries, even those far away,” Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said.

The political and economic crisis in Venezuela has been a top priority. A wave of Venezuelan migrants have arrived in Colombia searching for work, food and medicine. Colombia has asked the international community for support.

Peruvian President Kuczynski’s told reporters he hopes to unite South America during the Summit of the Americas, which will take place this April in Peru.

“Latin America needs to unite, but we are not united… except for Colombia and Peru, which are united, but there are other countries that are not. That is why we need to work and in the Summit of the Americas, in Lima, we will have the opportunity to do it,” said Kuczynski.

Peru has said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is no longer welcome to the summit. The announcement came after the Venezuelan government unilaterally decided to move up the presidential elections without support from the opposition.