As Venezuela and Colombia finally reached an agreement yesterday, following weeks of deportations as Colombians began to flee across the border, victory was decidedly hollow.
For Venezuela, the country’s mandate spoke of hopes for a “new type of relations with Colombia, respect, cooperation, peace,” a contrast to President Juan Manuel Santos’ expectations prior to his meeting with Maduro, overseen by Ecuadorean counterpart Rafael Correa and Tabaré Vázquez from Uruguay.
“(It was) indecent and humiliating how Colombians were treated, it’s a sad chapter of events for both countries and the state of emergency declared by Maduro in various border towns cannot be used as an excuse for the breach of human rights.” Santos commented, Semana magazine reports.
For many in the Guajira and Norte de Santander regions, the Quito agreement was worlds away.
“In Bogotá and Caracas they keep discussing what people living in border towns need, without really understanding the relationship between the two countries, even more for us who live on the border,” one street food seller told Colombia’s RCN Radio.
“As someone who crosses the border regularly I feel disappointed, we don’t have a president who is worried about us, he doesn’t know how to deal with this type of situation.” María Bolaños, a postgraduate student who lives in Riohacha, Colombia yet studies in Maracaibo, Venezuela added.
Colombian and Venezuelan politicians took to Twitter, responding to the Maduro-Santos agreement.
Mientras se reunían Santos+Maduro, alcalde de Cúcuta reporta nueva incursión violenta HOY de guardia vzolana en nuestro territorio.Salvajes
— Juan Lozano (@JuanLozano_R) September 22, 2015
“While Santos and Maduro met, the mayor of Cúcuta reported a new violent attack by the Venezuelan army in Colombian territory.” Juan Lozano from Colombia’s right-wing U party tweeted.
Eso de invocar a Bolívar ya no tiene sentido ni sirve para nada. La Gran Colombia nunca existió, ni existirá. Ni debe existir.
— Gonzalo Guillén (@HELIODOPTERO) September 22, 2015
“Invoking Bolívar doesn’t solve anything. The Republic of Gran Colombia never existed, nor will it exist. It shouldn’t exist.” Journalist Gonzalo Guillén tweeted.
Como todo en el gobierno Santos: dijo una cosa, hizo otra y ahora espera aplausos
— Óscar Iván Zuluaga (@OIZuluaga) September 22, 2015
“Just as during Santos’ entire government: he said one thing, did another and now expects applause.” Senator Óscar Iván Zuluaga President of the center-right Center Democratic party tweeted.
Yet Santos was pleased with the agreement outcome, tweeting:
Solución de problemas en frontera exige acción conjunta. Ordenamos a Ministros trabajar de inmediato para atender temas sensibles.
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) September 22, 2015
“A solution to the border problems requires joint action. We have ordered the ministries to begin immediate work on more sensitive issues.”