The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, said this Tuesday (9) during a visit to the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, that his country can help build “political peace” in Venezuela. The statement was made alongside the head of the Venezuelan Executive, Nicolás Maduro, at the Miraflores Palace, the seat of government in Caracas.

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O Brazil in fact was there to watch the meeting. The two had a meeting to discuss trade, economic and energy agreements and establish a permanent dialogue between the two countries. The meeting was held days after diplomatic tension between the countries, which began after professor Corina Yoris stated that she was unable to run for election in Venezuela. Petro said this was an “anti-democratic coup” and the countries exchanged barbs through their chancelleries.

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Alongside Maduro, Petro did not mention the Venezuelan elections and said that Colombia is working to build political peace in the region. “Colombia can help a lot with political peace, political stability throughout South America. Political peace in Venezuela can also be armed peace in Colombia. Political peace has to do with security”, said the head of the Colombian executive.

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In a note released after the meeting, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said that Maduro detailed to the Colombian the advances in the Venezuelan electoral process and said that everything is within Venezuelan electoral laws and complies with what was signed in the Barbados agreement, discussed between the government and the opposition.

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Petro also stated that Venezuela has already helped Colombia a lot to resolve conflicts with armed groups in previous governments and that the idea, now, is to reinforce this cooperation.

“Venezuela can help us a lot and has done so for many years in governments prior to mine, on the issue of armed conflicts. We were successful in the Santos government and we have to build it now in our governments”, said Petro.

Caracas will host the next cycle of dialogues between the guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government from April 12th to 22nd. The two parties have a ceasefire agreement signed until August and are seeking an extension of the armed truce.

The two leaders also discussed the possibility of security agreements, which would aim to dismantle criminal groups and combat the use of cryptocurrencies in money laundering. “We think about a political peace that must happen in Venezuela and a peace around the armed conflict in Colombia,” said the Colombian.

Maduro had a shorter speech. In 3 and a half minutes, the president of Venezuela said that he was willing to help Colombia “in whatever way necessary” and reinforced the need for peace in the region. He also said that Venezuela and Colombia were like “Siamese brothers” and said that the two have a “common vision” on the conflicts on the continent and on the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

“Venezuela will always be at your command to help Colombia build peace, because the peace of Colombia is the peace in Venezuela, just as the peace in Venezuela in political, economic and social issues is the tranquility of Colombia,” said Maduro.

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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