Colombia, Venezuela recall ambassadors amid rising tensions

Colombia, Venezuela recall ambassadors back to their respective countries after border closing dispute

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Colombian policemen stand guard in front of the border with Venezuela, August 27, 2015.

Updated Aug 29, 2015

Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, recalled his country's ambassador to Venezuela on Thursday.

Move came as a response to Venezuela closing two major border crossings and deporting over a thousand Colombians.

Venezuelan President, Nicholas Maduro, responded by also recalling Venezuela’s ambassador to Colombia later in the same day. 

Tensions on the border have been rising since Venezuela deported about 1,000 Colombians, citing gang violence as the cause for the deportations.

Two men on motorcycles attacked soldiers along Venezuela's northwestern border with Colombia on Wednesday. According to regional officials, three soldiers, one of them seriously, and a civilian were injured in the attack that took place in Tachira State. 

There are 5 million Colombians living in Venezuela, who either escaped from the civil conflict in their country or migrated for a better life. The deportation caused concern among the Colombians staying in towns near the border.

Initially, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, had decided to close the border for only 72 hours, but after the attack he declared a state of emergency in some parts of the Tachira State.

The foreign ministers of the two countries met on Wednesday, but they could not reach an agreement on how to resolve the situation.

“As part of measures to restore order, peace, tranquility and justice ... I have decided to declare a state of emergency in several municipalities of eastern Tachira state," President Maduro said.

He also added, “let’s have a deep reorganization of the economic, political, social, cultural order at the border.”

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, urged Venezuela on Saturday to reconsider its decision to close its border.

Santos said, "I have favoured dialogue and I will keep doing so, but I cannot allow Venezuela to treat Colombia and Colombians this way."

TRTWorld, Reuters