CARACAS, Thursday January 17, 2008 | Update
Colombian Minister asks Chávez to file evidence of alleged plot
Thursday January 17, 2008  12:03 PM

Colombian Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos Thursday asked President Hugo Chávez to show the proofs demonstrating that an alleged plot is under way in Bogota to assassinate the Venezuelan ruler.

Santos, who conceded that his relations with Chávez are certainly not good, was replying to Chávez's claims on Wednesday that Colombian and US military officers are involved in a plan to assassinate him.

"Let him show the proofs, if it is true," the Colombian Minister told radio station Caracol.

Santos claimed he would not make further comments about Chávez's statements on Wednesday in Nicaragua, and said that Colombian Foreign Minister Fernando Araújo's reply expressed the Colombian view quite clearly, Efe reported.

On Wednesday, the Colombian government, in a communiqué read by Araújo, asked Chávez for "respect." The Venezuelan ruler insists that Colombian rebel groups FARC and ELN are not terrorist organizations, but "genuine armies." Chávez said both the FARC and the ELN should be removed from the lists of terrorist organizations and be given the status of belligerent forces.

According to Araujo, Chávez "does not waste any chance to mistreat Colombia and its government and leaders," and he "mistakes cooperation for interference" in Colombian domestic affairs.

According to the communiqué, Chávez "ignores the terrorist acts of the guerrilla groups, their role in drug trafficking, their crimes against children, women and the elderly, their kidnappings and other crimes," which are viewed worldwide as "crimes against humanity."


Venezuela applauds new course of US-Cuba relations

US-CUBA Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro told on Wednesday to his Cuban counterpart, Raúl Castro, that Venezuelans were very happy with the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States after 53 years, according to a communiqué released by the Venezuelan Foreign Office.

Experts: Caracas should analyze changes in Havana

DIPLOMACY As the United States and Cuba resume their diplomatic relation, the Venezuelan government one of the main partners and allies of the Caribbean country is forced to conduct damage control and to refocus its relation with the US, according to analysts.

US-Cuba rapprochement involves "profound implications in Venezuela"

US-CUBA Restored diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States "moves the floor" for the policy of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who could be forced to restate his wording, analysts told AFP on Wednesday.

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