Presidents Of Venezuela And Colombia Meet To Improve Ties & Discuss Gas Pipeline Project

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met in August.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met in August.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met in August.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez welcomed his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos Tuesday for a meeting to improve relations between the two nations.

Despite the two countries’ ideological differences and recent territorial disputes, this is the second time since Santos was inaugurated president in August that the two leaders have met.

“We will be brothers forever,” Chávez said, according to the Washington Post. The two presidents met at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas amidst a military band and soldiers dressed colonial-era uniforms.

The two recent meetings are an abrupt change from Venezuelan-Colombian relations during former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s administration. Chávez severed diplomatic ties with Colombia in July in response to allegations that his government provided a safe haven for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.

Chávez had also protested the Colombian government’s decision to allow the U.S. military to access seven Colombian bases.

Relations also hit a low point back in 2008, when Chávez protested a Colombian cross-border bombing raid in Ecuador that killed a top FARC commander. Santos was Colombia’s defense minister at the time and ordered the operation.

Trade between the two nations, which has typically been strong, plummeted during the last year of Uribe’s presidency, when Chávez ordered officials to stop buying food from Colombia and to sign deals with Argentina and Brazil instead.

The two leaders were expected to discuss the transnational gas pipeline project and sign energy, commerce and agriculture agreements.

“If we work together, our people will benefit. If we end up fighting, our people will end being hurt,” Santos said Tuesday, according to Fox News. “I believe you and I, President Chávez, understand this.”

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Caribbean

Central America

Andes

Southern Cone

Image: chavezcandanga @ Flickr.

Subscribe to Today in Latin America by Email

One comment

  1. How sweet! I love it when world leaders act like grown ups.

    My mother, on the other hand, who is slightly more cynical, commented: “Unidos en la sirvenguenzura.” Lyrically translated as –cut out of the same cloth–one to the left and one to the right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *