Colombia-Venezuela Row Continues to Escalate, Could Affect Trade

Colombia-Venezuela Row Continues to Escalate, Could Affect Trade

BOGOTÁ, Colombia -- The diplomatic row sparked by President Hugo Chávez's mediation in Colombia's hostage crisis continues and shows little sign of abating, sparking fears that bilateral trade will be affected and dashing hopes of a humanitarian exchange of hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The involvement of Chávez was hailed as a historic opportunity to secure the release of dozens of hostages held by FARC rebels, but has caused Venezuela-Colombia relations to sink to their lowest point in two years. Now they are consigned to the "freezer," according to Chávez. The row began when Colombian president Álvaro Uribe abruptly cancelled the Venezuelan president's participation in talks with the FARC last month.

Since the start of Chávez's high profile role as chief mediator between the rebels and Colombian government, there has been growing concern in Bogotá that he had been overstepping his bounds and revealing confidential details to the press.

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