Colombian Foreign Affairs Minister Carlos Trujillo Holmes gave an interview to El Tiempo in which he spoke at length on the Venezuelan crisis and its effects on his country.

In the interview, Holmes said that Maduro is “more isolated each day”, and that this is why he often resorts to making up elaborate claims about international plots against him. Holmes was also asked about that while Maduro’s standard is to “insult” Colombia, he is also indignant at the lack of dialogue between the two countries. Holmes said:

This lack of coherence is not new. Colombia will not allow itself to get caught up by this. We will defend the integrity of our country as we do each day. We will not fall into provocations or insults. We will try to do our best to help the cause of democracy in Venezuela.

Holmes also spoke about the state of trade between the two nations. Despite sharing a border that stretches 2,200 kilometers and hundreds of years of shared history and cultural heritage, Holmes said:

Commercial relations have fallen a lot and they continue to do so. Between January and September of this year we only exported $230 million to Venezuela, which is only 1 percent of our total exports.

Brazil, Venezuela in Spat Over Alleged Invitation

Earlier today, incoming Brazilian Foreign Affairs minister Ernesto Araujo said on his Twitter account account that Maduro had not been invited to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who is taking over the country on January 1.

Araujo explained that there is “no place for Maduro in a celebration of democracy”, and called on “all the countries in the world” to help liberate Venezuela from the regime. Below, Araujo’s tweet:

Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza reacted to the tweet by providing what he claims is evidence that Brasilia had invited Maduro to Bolsonaro’s ceremony, and that Maduro had refused to attend. Below, the letters:

While it not clear from the context of Arreaza’s tweet, it appears that the letter on the left is a Spanish translation of a letter that must have been received in Portuguese. While the one on the right is written in Portuguese, it does not correspond to the letter on the left.

Arreaza also shared what he claims to be Caracas’ response to the invitation, part of which reads:

… we inform the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Brazil, that the Socialist, Revolutionary, and Free Government of Venezuela will never attend the swearing-in ceremony of a president who expresses intolerance, fascism, [and who works towards] interests contrary to those of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Bolsonaro’s extreme-right positions on social and economic issues have drawn ample comparisons to fascist governments of the 20th century.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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