Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez last month appointed as defense minister a general allegedly linked to a Colombian rebel group, raising concerns that the move might jeopardize the two countries’ recent thaw in relations. In an email interview, Adam Isacson, senior associate for regional security at the Washington Office on Latin America, discussed the Colombia-Venezuela security relationship.
WPR: What have security relations between Colombia and Venezuela been like historically?
Adam Isacson: The two northern Andean countries have never gone to war. But relations, while cordial, have never been fully trustful. Things took a turn for the worse in the past decade, after both countries elected populist firebrand presidents on opposing sides of the political spectrum: Hugo Chávez in Venezuela (1999-present) and Álvaro Uribe in Colombia (2002-2010).