Colombia’s New President Faces a Coming Clash With Venezuela

Colombia’s New President Faces a Coming Clash With Venezuela
Wearing the presidential sash, Colombian President Ivan Duque speaks during his inauguration ceremony, Bogota, Aug. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Three days before Ivan Duque was sworn in as Colombia’s new president on Tuesday, a scene of cinematic mayhem unfolded in neighboring Venezuela. On Saturday, President Nicolas Maduro was delivering a speech at a military parade in Caracas when the formations suddenly scattered in a flurry of panic. Armed drones reportedly packed with explosives had detonated near the reviewing stand in what looked like an attempt on the president’s life. Barely three hours later, Maduro, who was not hurt, went on television to make a stunning accusation. The attack, he claimed, could be traced to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, the man who was about to leave office.

“I have no doubt,” Maduro said, that it came from the “ultra-right in Venezuela in alliance with the ultra-right in Colombia,” with Santos behind it all.

Put aside the questions of what exactly happened in Caracas, and how it was possible for Maduro to so quickly trace the origin of the plot. It is all but certain that relations between Colombia and Venezuela are about to turn much, much worse as the Duque presidency begins.

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