BOGOTA – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos expressed Monday his disapproval of the sanctions imposed by the United States on Venezuela and called for dialogue between the government and opposition of the South American country.
“We’ve always said that unilateral sanctions are counterproductive in the long run, which is why we oppose them,” Santos said in an interview published Monday in the daily El Tiempo.
The president said the Summit of the Americas, to be held this April 10-11 in Panama, will be an excellent chance to bring about “an improvement of relations between the United States and Venezuela.”
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama announced last March 9 an expansion of sanctions against certain Venezuelan officials, now identified for the first time, whom it considers responsible for human rights violations.
The United States also declared a “national emergency” due to the “security threat” to the U.S. signified by the situation in Venezuela.
In an interview Monday, Santos said he believes it essential to promote a dialogue between the different political forces in Venezuela while “respecting its autonomy.”
“Our foreign minister (Maria Angela Holguin) has played a very active part within the foreign ministers’ commission of Unasur (Union of South American Nations), in an attempt to bring together the Venezuelan government and opposition,” Santos said.
The head of state noted that the answer should be “a constructive dialogue that leads to decisions capable of halting the growing deterioration of the country’s political, social and economic situation.”
Holguin said last March 25 that “the Unasur framework” can be a means for all countries to “work together” to help Venezuela “regain its stability and its democratic ways.”