Maduro denounces Colombian pres. proposal to reopen border

TEHRAN, May 24 (MNA) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denounced his Colombian counterpart Sunday for proposing to reopen the border between the two countries.

Maduro said Ivan Duque’s unilateral move would destabilize the border, arguing that people transiting between the two countries would create a COVID-19 crisis in the bordering region, Anadolu Agency reported.

He specifically claimed that Colombia would “contaminate” Venezuela with its COVID variants.

"The Indian variant, the California variant and the South African variant are already circulating in Colombia,” so the reopening of the border would “contaminate” Venezuela’s bordering state of Tachira, he noted.

Maduro said Duque’s proposal is an attempt to raise funds from the international community and “create a smokescreen” to distract attention from the wave of protests currently taking place in Colombia that began over the government’s proposed tax hikes and spread to include economic issues, inequality, the shortage of COVID vaccines and police brutality.

“They have tried to create smokescreens to divert world attention from the enormous and tragic crisis that Colombia is experiencing. They want to create a source of disturbance on the border and they want to create a show with Venezuelan migrants,” he said.

Maduro said his government will not allow that to happen and that Venezuela will “protect the border and defeat the plan to send more powerful variants against Venezuela."

However, he remained open to the possibility of reaching an agreement between the two countries with the right “biosecurity measures.”

RHM/PR

News Code 173873

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