The Colombian press on the Colombia-Venezuela crisis

Today’s El Tiempo (Colombia’s national paper) is where one can find a summary of the Colombian establishment position. Chavez wants something simple: an apology from Uribe. El Tiempo says such a request is absurd, since Chavez is too ‘permissive’ with FARC. Phrases like ‘permissive with terrorism’ are useful all-purpose slurs that don’t require evidence, particularly when leveled against independent minded regimes (independent from the US, that is).


Today’s El Tiempo (Colombia’s national paper) is where one can find a summary of the Colombian establishment position. Chavez wants something simple: an apology from Uribe. El Tiempo says such a request is absurd, since Chavez is too ‘permissive’ with FARC. Phrases like ‘permissive with terrorism’ are useful all-purpose slurs that don’t require evidence, particularly when leveled against independent minded regimes (independent from the US, that is).

Uribe hasn’t answered. He’s made noises asking for a united front of Bolivarians against the FARC. That’s a bit much from a president who either authorized an extraterritorial kidnapping or was deliberately negligent about it.

The United States has continued to make threatening noises themselves, with the state department writing a letter to Latin American governments asking them to pressure Chavez. There were also the threats made during Condoleeza Rice’s confirmation hearings. But the State Department also denied any involvement in Granda’s capture (making this blogger think of Bill Blum’s ‘watergate law of politics’: don’t believe anything until it’s been officially denied.)

Chavez has threatened to freeze all relations with Colombia without an apology. El Tiempo reports that such a move would have severe consequences for Colombia – and already has.

For example, there are now 1800 tons of coal from Colombia that take a land route through Venezuela for re-export to Central America and the US. That shipment has been frozen.

Venezuelan gas stations on the border have been closed, putting the Colombian town of Cucuta’s 40,000 cars in some gas difficulty.

Venezuela’s stopped supplying power to Colombian towns, affecting Cucuta and Arauca especially. People from the regions are warning that perishables will be lost soon without electric refrigeration.

Venezuela is also beginning judicial proceedings against the Colombian paramilitaries captured on its territory last year.

Relations are freezing – but the crisis is heating up. Fast.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.