By Clodovaldo Hernandez – CiudadCCS
In the context of heightened tensions between Venezuela and neighboring Colombia, provoked by a meeting between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and opposition leader Henrique Capriles, Caracas daily CiudadCCS interviewed Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Elias Jaua.
Is Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos our “best friend” (as President Chavez once afﬁrmed) or our worst enemy?
Elias Jaua: We are the best friends of the Colombian people and of peace in Colombia. Starting in August of 2010, with the Meeting of Santa Marta, we began building a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation with President Santos. This relationship, however, was derailed last week when Santos chose to receive an opposition leader who fails to recognize Venezuela’s judicial, electoral, and executive powers, the same leader responsible for the post-election violence of April 15th that resulted in the death of 11 Venezuelans, citizens killed for defending the Bolivarian Revolution.
That is the point here. Anyone who doubts our position is invited to remember that in September 2012 President Santos met with then-candidate Henrique Capriles. At that time, we issued no formal complaint. At that time, Capriles was just another political actor within the conﬁnes of the democratic process. That is no longer the case. That’s what makes this a grave situation – the Colombian state has received someone who openly deﬁes the Venezuelan state, who fails to recognize the rules of our democracy.
The opposition claims that our Revolutionary Government in Caracas has for years received opposition leaders of other nations. What makes this any different?
Elias Jaua: None of the people we’ve met with carry out their political struggle on the margins of legality, nor do they openly defy the institutions of the countries they represent.
This recent incident demonstrated that there are still many unresolved issues between Venezuela and Colombia. Isn’t it better to place all things on the table?
Elias Jaua: As President Maduro put it, paraphrasing President Chavez, Venezuela and Colombia are Siamese twins. We are the children of the same liberator, of Simon Bolivar, but we maintain two distinct frameworks for our development, two different visions of how society should be organized, and this will always be a source of some tension. But the basis of good relations is respect for the internal development of each country and the model each people chooses to implement. We can expect to understand one another, however, only if each of us stays out of the others’ internal affairs.
Some analysts believe Santos’ recent attitude is related to the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Bogota. Do you think that’s the case?
Elias Jaua: I don’t want to speculate on that issue. Only President Santos knows the reasons why he received the governor of Miranda (Capriles).
Here’s another question, in multiple-choice format. The Alliance of the Paciﬁc is an organization that is: a) anti-Celac; b) anti-Unasur; c) antiALBA; d) anti-Mercosur; e) all of the above?
Elias Jaua: All countries have the right to organize themselves, to associate with one another based on their own national interests and perspectives. We have no objection to the Alliance of the Paciﬁc. We have said, however, not in reference speciﬁcally to that agreement, but in general, that US Imperialism and the Latin American right-wing feel that with the physical departure of President Hugo Chavez the time has come to restore free trade, neo-liberalism, and all that they bring with them.
We, in contrast, are sure that they’re mistaken. We believe that the people of Latin America and the Caribbean still hold fresh in their memories the dark neo-liberal decades that brought instability, social exclusion, misery, and the privatization of fundamental human rights such as health and education. For us, that model is unviable in the Latin America and Caribbean of today.
Venezuela is the only country that voted against a recent resolution of the UN Human Rights Commission condemning the Syrian government. Why don’t allied nations, including powerful neighbors, take a similar stance?
Read the full story here: http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/9680