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Venezuela furious at Colombia for meeting with opposition leader

Venezuela is furious over a Wednesday meeting between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Venezuela Colombia CaprilesEnlarge
Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles (C), Colombian Congress' President Roy Barreras (R) and Colombian President of the House of Representatives Augusto Posada Sanchez (L) during a joint press conference at the Colombian Congress in Bogota on May 29, 2013. (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuela is furious over a Wednesday meeting between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua told state television the meeting "will bring a derailment of the good relations that we have," while Parliament Speaker Diosdado Cabello compared the meeting to "placing a bomb on the train." 

Cabello added that Caracas would evaluate whether it would continue to support the peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group. He also said Venezuelan diplomat Roy Chatterton has been recalled from the talks.

Capriles and Santos met in Bogotá at the start of the opposition leader's tour around Latin America to make his case that April's presidential election in Venezuela was fraudulent, making President Nicolas Maduro's government illegitimate. 

The meeting was private but is reported to have included issues of freedom of speech in Venezuela and the failure of President Nicolas Maduro's government to live up to promises to carry out an audit of 100 percent of the votes in the April 14th election, which Capriles narrowly lost — and in which he alleges fraud took place.

The Maduro government has also gone after Capriles, calling him a "fascist" and saying he is trying to cause a coup in Venezuela.

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"Colombia must clarify if the government is with Capriles' coup intentions, or with the people of Venezuela and with the legitimate, sovereign and constitutional government of comrade Nicolas Maduro," Cabello told state media.

"President Santos is putting a bomb in the good relations that President Chavez urged so much ... He is receiving a murderer, a fascist right there in his palace."

In the televised statement, Jaua also said the Venezuelan government intended to immediately stop its involvement as a facilitator in Colombian peace talks with FARC rebels that are taking place in Cuba

Colombia's foreign minister, Maria Angela Holguin, said it would respond to Caracas in private, without "microphone diplomacy".

GlobalPost Senior Correspondent, Simeon Tegel, reported from Lima, Peru

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/venezuela/130530/venezuela-furious-at-colombia-meeting-opposition-leader