BOGOTA – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that Colombia would be a key player in restoring democracy to Venezuela.
Tillerson was speaking alongside Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos shortly after his arrival in Bogota.
“Colombia has been a key player in the hemisphere’s efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela (...) we had a very extensive exchange on how we can work together along with others in the region, through the LIMA group, through the OAS, to restore democracy in Venezuela,” Tillerson said.
“Our only objective is to see Venezuela return to its constitution, to return its duly elected assembly, and to hold free and fair elections and give the Venezuelan people the right for their voices to be heard,” the Secretary of State added.
Tillerson also said that he was “heartbroken” both by what is happening in Venezuela and by the “impact it is having on Colombia.”
According to the latest Colombian government figures, around 550,000 Venezuelans have sought refuge in the country and some 37,000 continue cross the border every day, as an economic and political crisis continues to grip their country.
Tillerson praised Colombia’s efforts in dealing with the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have fled the crisis as the situation in Venezuela “continues to deteriorate.”
“We will continue to work as partners in seeking a solution to that tragedy that we’re all watching unfold,” he concluded.