On Sunday, May 23, the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, denounced the existence of a plan to promote an increase in COVID-19 cases in his country through the borders shared by Venezuela and Colombia.
“The Indian variant, the California variant, and the South African variant are already circulating in Colombia,” he warned, while adding that the unilateral measure of opening the border by Colombia is in order to “contaminate the Táchira and spread infections through the border.”
In this sense, he ordered the Executive Cabinet to create a plan “to protect the border and defeat the program to send more powerful COVID-19 variants into Venezuela.”
“They are talking about opening the border unilaterally. If the reactionary government of Colombia does not coordinate with Venezuela, nothing on the border will work. He just wants to use the border to disrupt,” Maduro said in reference to the announcement of the Executive of Iván Duque. Similarly, Maduro opined that opening the border without proper protocols in place could result in a great wave of COVID-19 infections throughout the country.
The national leader accused his Colombian counterpart, Iván Duque, of carrying out actions to “divert attention” from the deep political and social crisis facing the bordering nation, following the national strike and demonstrations resulting from the Duque government’s mismanagement.
“They have tried to create smokescreens to divert world attention from the enormous and tragic crisis that Colombia is experiencing,” said Maduro. “They want to create a source of disturbance on the border, and they want to create a show with Venezuelan migrants in order to get money, because the neoliberal tax reform fell through. He (Duque) planned to raise more than six billion dollars from the pockets of humble Colombians, and now he wants to use Venezuelan migrants to get one or two billion dollars.”
Despite these criticisms of the Colombian ruler, Maduro was open to the possibility of coordinating an opening of the border crossing, with the implementation of biosafety measures to prevent the contagion and spread of COVID-19, and with communication and coordination among both governments.
“Let’s do it by consensus, with biosecurity measures. By the good, all is possible; by the bad, hoping for money, nothing,” he stated. The Colombian government, in its submission to US interests aimed at ousting President Maduro, has broken diplomatic relations with Venezuela, even while Venezuelan authorities have made numerous attempts to open channels of communication and coordination for the management of a very complicated frontier.
Featured image: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Photo courtesy of Prensa Presidencial.
(Ultimas Noticias) by Jesús Inojosa, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune