.- In the wake of last weekâs decision by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to break off diplomatic ties with Colombia, bishops from both countries expressed their firm intentions to cooperate and improve bonds between the two nations.
According to the website of the Colombian Bishopsâ Conference, Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez said he hopes âto return to having peaceful and fraternal relations,â and he called for solidarity with those suffering from the Venezuelan decision to break off ties.
âIt makes no sense that we are incapable of solving problemsâ¦our nations deserve to live in peace,â said Archbishop Gomez, adding that âthe climate of mutual mistrustâ between both governments must be overcome. Colombiaâs president-elect Juan Manuel Santos previously expressed the importance of having strong relations with neighboring countries.
Archbishop Ubaldo Santana Sequera, president of the Venezuelan Bishopsâ Conference, called the situation âworrisomeâ and expressed hope that the bishops of both countries could âcontinue working together, bearing witness to fraternity.â
âWe hope that any military conflict between the nations will be avoided. Solutions apart from war must be sought out together,â he said.
Asked about the presence of the FARC guerrillas in Venezuela, Archbishop Santana said, âThere are too many reports of easy movement (of insurgents) through our borders.â
âThe government needs to have a greater presence in the border regions. We are leaving too many gaps for these groups to move about,â he said.