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OAS Calls for Dialogue and Cooperation in Bilateral Relations between Colombia and Venezuela

  July 22, 2010

In today’s special session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), Secretary General José Miguel Insulza regretted the recent announcement by the Venezuelan government to sever ties with Colombia and recalled that “the region is a zone that has had peace between Member States for a long time, and this is a value we all want to protect and to which we will adhere.”

At the session, which took place at the Organization’s headquarters in Washington, DC, Secretary General Insulza made a call to “calm the spirits” and to find a path for dialogue. “I believe our countries have common objectives, and the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism is one of them; the peaceful coexistence between our countries is another. Peace and democracy are also objectives we share.”

“The OAS has expressed its willingness to mediate, such as it has done at other occasions, but those that must decide this are the two countries through mutual agreement. Never should this Organization be imposed upon the sovereignty of the countries, because it is an organization of a multilateral and not of a supranational character,” the Secretary General concluded.

At the meeting, held at the request of the government of Colombia, the Permanent Representative of that country to the hemispheric organization, Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos, gave a presentation that included a series of photographs, maps, coordinates, and videos that, according to his government, represent proof of the presence of illegal armed groups in Venezuelan territory.

After a summary of the efforts and initiatives the Colombian government has conducted in previous years to make progress in areas of society, economy, and security, Ambassador Hoyos presented the information to the Council and asserted that Colombia is looking for “bilateral cooperation and mediation.” The Representative from the Government of President Álvaro Uribe also made a series of requests, including the formation of an International Committee with all willing OAS Member States to visit within the next thirty days the places where Colombia alleges the presence of the members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) present in their neighboring country.

In turn, the Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the OAS, Ambassador Roy Chaderton, denied the validity of the evidence presented by the Colombian representative, questioned the accusations and disapproved of the use of the OAS as a platform for presenting them. In his intervention, he also denounced the interpretations of various media outlets in the region that in recent years have affected bilateral relations between the two governments.

In the context of the meeting, Ambassador Chaderton announced the rupture of bilateral relations between his country and Colombia as a result of the meeting, and reiterated his criticism to the Colombian government for convening the meeting. Despite the announcement, the Venezuelan representative expressed his wish to be able to find a positive solution to the situation. “You cannot imagine how much we Colombians and Venezuelans have in common,” he said.

At the end of both speeches, the Permanent Representatives of Bolivia, Nicaragua, the United States, Panama, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, representing the delegates from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), agreed to the urgent necessity to combat drug trafficking and terrorism on a united front, so that America can continue to be a continent at peace.

Several delegates lamented the recent events and made an emphatic plea for dialogue and cooperation in order to achieve understanding between both nations, and offered to serve as mediators to meet this goal.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-276/10