Venezuela draws fury of Colombian government in a marine territory dispute.
Venezuela recently fanned tensions with Colombia by laying claim to a large section of sea off the coast of both countries, local and international media reported.
A decree by President Nicolás Maduro late last month declared a vast swathe of marine territory in the Gulf of Venezuela belongs to his country, but Colombia also claims that much of that territory falls under its sovereignty.
Maduro said the decree was aimed at bolstering Venezuela’s marine defences, but some analysts say he wants to stir nationalist passions to divert attention away from a faltering economy and chronic food shortages in his country.
A letter of protest was hand-delivered to Venezuela’s ambassador in Bogota on June 20 by Colombian Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín.
The letter formally requested that Venezuela take the necessary measures to correct the decree and so resolve this marine territory dispute.
“The decision runs counter to international law”, Holguín said.
Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry responded to Colombia’s protest by issuing a press statement accusing the Colombian government of resorting to “blackmail and media lies.”
While the two countries have since agreed to resolve the issue through a bilateral commission, President Santos is still waiting for an official response from Maduro.
“Venezuela’s press release is not an answer to our proposal. For this commission to be formed and to meet, a response of the Venezuelan government to our formal complaint is required,” he said.
By Maddie Elder