Fighting the rebels would be easier without Maduro: Colombian Foreign Minister

Capturing and submitting to justice the dissident commanders of the FARC and those of the ELN guerrillas would be easier if the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, was not in power, said the Colombian foreign minister, who reiterated that Caracas protect those illegal armed groups.

Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo.

Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo. / Via REUTERS

Reuters | Luis Jaime Acosta y Julia Symmes Cobb

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Leer en español: Lucha contra los rebeldes sería más fácil sin Maduro: canciller colombiano

The comments come after FARC guerrilla leaders who had demobilized announced Thursday in a video their return to the armed struggle because they considered a peace agreement was breached, threatening to revive a long and bloody conflict internal.

"Do not fit any doubt. Maduro, that regime protects them, that regime has opened the doors for them, that regime makes it easier for them to act from their territory," Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said in an interview with Reuters.

The Government of Colombia maintains that in Venezuela, leaders of the National Liberation Army (ELN) take refuge with the approval of Maduro, as well as leaders of the FARC dissidents who abandoned the peace agreement such as Iván Márquez and Jesús Santrich, who They appeared in the video announcing the revival of the armed struggle.

The government of President Iván Duque and the United Nations condemned the announcement of the dissidents, while the political party that emerged from the demobilized guerrillas said that most of the former members remain committed to peace despite the "difficulties and dangers."

Maduro denies that members of illegal armed groups in Colombia take refuge in Venezuelan territory, but Trujillo recalled that the Socialist president said at the end of July that Márquez and Santrich were welcome to his country.

A US State Department official told Reuters that the Maduro government is increasingly providing refuge for Colombian rebel groups.

Read also: Colombia: FARC deserters return to armed struggle


Venezuela, which blamed the dissident rearmament on the failure of the Duque government to comply with the agreement signed in 2016, said it was worried on Friday about the "imminent revival" of the confrontation that has left 260,000 dead and millions displaced in more than half a century.

Subsequently, Maduro said on his Twitter account that his government is committed to promoting peace in Colombia and will advance efforts to restore talks between the two sides.

"The end of that dictatorship, of that tyranny, is the best for Venezuela, the best for Colombia, the best for the region, the best for the international community," said Trujillo, who announced that Duque will denounce at the next assembly of United Nations Maduro's support for the rebels.

The Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, recognized by more than 50 countries as the legitimate president of his country, has pledged to fight the Colombian illegal armed groups.

Also read: Venezuelan migrants to get regional vaccination cards under 10-nation pact

Maduro, who remains in power with the support of the military, accuses Guaidó of being a puppet of the United States.

Trujillo said that Colombia will begin the procedures so that Iván Márquez and other leaders who left the peace process are included by Interpol in their red list of the world's most wanted people. Security forces estimate that the FARC dissidents have about 2,200 combatants.

When asked what evidence Colombia has of the rebel presence in Venezuela, Trujillo replied: "There are indications, there are hypotheses."

"But the truth is that Venezuela, under the Maduro regime, has hosted Colombian terrorists. There is the ELN, there are ELN leaders. Those ELN leaders will work in coordination with this narcoterrorist group that was announced (on Thursday)" he concluded.

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