Duque: Maduro “Confirms Venezuela Is A Sanctuary For Terrorists And Drug Traffickers”

On July 29, Colombian President Iván Duque said Nicolás Maduro turned Venezuela into a sanctuary for terrorism, furthering tension between the neighboring countries.
Voice of America | 23 August 2019

Transnational Threats

Colombian President Iván Duque said Nicolás Maduro turned Venezuela into a sanctuary for terrorism, furthering tension in the already deteriorated relationship between the neighbors. (Photo: Joaquin Sarmiento, AFP)

A day prior, Maduro said fugitive leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are welcome, eliciting criticism and repudiation from Colombian Foreign Affairs Minister Holmes Trujillo.

Duque said in China that Maduro committed “the silly act” of protecting former guerrillas Seuxis Paucias Hernández, better known as Jesús Santrich, and Luciano Marín Arango, alias Iván Márquez.

“What we’re seeing here is not only that he’s harbored Colombian terrorists for many years, but once again confirms that Venezuela is a sanctuary for terrorists and drug traffickers,” said Duque.

The Colombian president was on an official visit to China, one of the countries that recognizes Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president, unlike more than 50 countries, among them the United States and Colombia.

“Leaders of the National Liberation Army are there. Now, some of the heads of FARC dissidents are there too, and there’s no doubt that Santrich is also protected by that dictatorial regime,” said Duque.

Santrich and Márquez participated in the peace negotiation in Cuba between the government of former President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC to end a conflict of more than half a century that left 260,000 dead and millions displaced.

Márquez disappeared in mid-2018 without assuming his role as a congressman, while Santrich took over as legislator in June 2019 after regaining freedom in the midst of a process in which he is accused of taking part in a scheme to send 10 tons of cocaine valued at $320 million to the United States.

Santrich disappeared at the end of June and failed to appear before the Supreme Court of Justice as part of an investigation into the case, for which the court ordered his arrest. Before disappearing, the fugitive and former FARC negotiator denied the accusations against him and said it was a “montage.”

“I believe he once again made the silly mistake that has characterized him of continuing to harbor terrorism, and in the eyes of the world this is just one more incentive to continue strengthening the diplomatic siege and quickly stop scourging the Venezuelan people,” Duque concluded.

(With information from Reuters)

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