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."
LOPEZ CASE Lilian Tintori, the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, met on Friday with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.
HUMAN RIGHTS Pictures published on Thursday show the national coordinator of opposition Voluntad Popular party Leopoldo López and former mayor of San Cristóbal, Táchira state, Daniel Ceballos calling for their own release and that of all the political prisoners in Venezuela, pursuant to a ruling issued by the United Nations Organization last October 8.
LOPEZ'S CASE Tanzanian lawyer Roland Adjovi, one of the five members of the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, noted that the resolution urging Venezuela to release opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Daniel Ceballos "is binding upon the government," and added that the authorities had to "observe the group's decision."