Santos Says ‘Very Possible’ Colombia Guerrillas in Venezuela

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said it is “very possible” that Colombian guerrillas are operating in neighboring Venezuela and he trusts that President Hugo Chavez isn’t offering them refuge.

Former President Alvaro Uribe questioned Santos’ comment last week that Colombia’s largest guerrilla group no longer has camps in Venezuela. Guerrilla leaders may still be hiding out in Venezuela, Uribe said in an April 12 post to his Twitter account.

“It is very possible that guerrillas are still in Venezuela, no one has discarded that possibility," Santos said in a statement on the presidential website today. ‘‘We have the clear and resounding commitment from President Chavez not to permit terrorist camps in his territory and signs of goodwill with the capture and handing over of guerrillas.’’

Santos, who served as defense minister under Uribe, authorized the extradition of alleged drug kingpin Walid Makled to Venezuela April 13 after meeting with Chavez in Cartagena, even after pressure from U.S. lawmakers for Makled to be sent there for trial. President Barack Obama named Makled one of the U.S.’s most-wanted foreign drug-traffickers.

The extradition helped Santos, who took office from Uribe in August, patch up relations with Chavez after the socialist revolutionary halted trade between the two countries and warned of a possible war.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Schmidt in Bogota at bschmidt16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.