Maduro attempted to strike conciliatory tone towards the Colombian government during a televised address earlier today in which he spoke about the case of a a Colombian fugitive who was found to be in Venezuela.
The fugitive is Aida Merlano, a former Colombian senator who staged a daring escape from an doctor’s office in October of last year. Merlano was visiting the doctor under guard, as she had been sentenced to 15 years in prison a month earlier for crimes related to electoral fraud. Merlano escaped onto a waiting motorcycle parked outside of the doctor’s office by jumping out of a window and attempting to use a rope-like object to control her descent.
Merlano was captured by Venezuelan authorities earlier this week in Maracaibo, the capital of Zulia state which borders Colombia.
During his televised address earlier today, Maduro said that he would be willing to consider re-establishing diplomatic relations with Colombia with the goal of facilitating Merlano’s extradition back to Colombia. Maduro said:
I am willing to restablish consular relations with the Colombian government, [so that] all of these issues can take place at the consular level. [Colombian president] Ivan Duque, listen to me!
True to form, Maduro followed up with a string of insults at Duque, saying:
This [Merlano’s extradition] would be fixed really quickly if we were able to communicate without so much ideological extremism… your [Duque] extremism, your insincerity, your immaturity are damaging Colombia and Venezuela.
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