The Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, criticized Colombia in a text published on Sunday. The minister said it is “irresponsible” that Bogota and Caracas have no diplomatic dialogue and said there is an “obsession” with Venezuela.
“It is irresponsible that the ministers of two countries [Colombia and Venezuela] with such strong dynamics do not communicate,” said Arreaza on the website of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry. He also called for a resumption of contact with his Colombian counterpart, Carlos Holmes Trujillo.
In the missive, Arreaza also asks Colombian President Iván Duque to stop his “obsession with Venezuela” and to dedicate himself to “achieving peace”.
The speech comes a week after three Venezuelan soldiers were killed and 10 wounded in a suspected attack by the National Liberation Army (ELN) – a Colombian guerrilla group. The episode happened at the border between the two countries.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on Thursday a “scandalous” freeze of peace talks between the ELN and the Colombian government and called for a resumption of dialogue.
“The first people interested in peace are Venezuelans because we are victims,” Maduro said.
Meanwhile, the number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees has reached 3 million, the United Nations said on Thursday.
2.4 million of these people are in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the rest are divided by other parts of the world, said the UN.
Citing data from national immigration authorities and other sources, the UN says that Colombia has the largest number of refugees and migrants in Venezuela, with more than 1 million. Peru is next with more than 500,000. The other countries that received most Venezuelans are: Ecuador (220,000), Argentina (130,000), Chile (100,000), Panama (94,000) and Brazil (85,000).
“The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have broadly maintained a praiseworthy policy of open doors for refugees and migrants from Venezuela,” said Eduardo Stein, UN special representative on the Venezuelan issue.
But he warned that “the capacity for reception is strained, requiring a more robust and immediate response from the international community for this generosity and solidarity to continue.”