Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro affirmed Saturday that his country is facing an economic war that is directed by former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
“They have us in an open economic war and Alvaro Uribe directs it,” Maduro said, adding that the currently closed border with Colombia will not be opened until peace is restored.
The allegations come as new evidence obtained on Tuesday reveals possible ties between Venzuela’s right-wing opposition and Colombian paramilitary groups, allegedly financed by Uribe.
On Friday, Maduro declared a state of exception in the border region with Colombia to restore security and control of the area following an apparent paramilitary attack that injured three Venezuelan soldiers on Wednesday.
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The head of state also addressed the accusation that he is anti-Colombian following his call to end mass migration from Colombia into Venezuela.
“They come out to say that I am anti-Colombian because I go out to combat smuggling. They are taking the paper currency of Venezuela,” Maduro said. “I am anti-paramilitary, anti-crime. I love Colombia. I respect the Colombian people.”
Maduro further welcomed the advancement of a meeting that willl take place between the foreign ministers of Venezuela and Colombia on Aug. 26. The officials are expected to discuss border issues, paramilitary activity and the possible causes of Venezuela's economic crisis.