Colombia-Venezuela trade to halt on diplomatic break - sources

22 July 2010 23:16  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--All formal commerce between Colombia and Venezuela will stop following Venezuela's decision to break off diplomatic relations with its neighbouring country, market participants in Venezuela said on Thursday.

Commercial traffic had already been hampered by trade and currency restrictions, but Venezuela president Hugo Chavez’ orders to break with Colombia would likely eliminate all business between the two countries, sources said.

Chavez made the announcement during a visit of Argentinean ex-soccer star Diego Maradona to Caracas, according to South America media reports.

“Venezuela gave Colombian diplomats 72 hours to leave the country and to close the embassy in Caracas”, a local source said.

The break in relations followed Colombia’s accusations over the presence of FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia) guerrillas in Venezuela during a hearing at the Organization of American States (OAS).

Reflecting the stressed relations in the region, Ecuador's Francisco Proano resigned from his position as president of the OAS' Permanent Council.

Proano said his departure was due to discrepancies between his government, which asked him not to call the meeting, and OAS rulings obligating him to call the meeting based on the Colombian government's request, according to regional sources.

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By: Ron Coifman
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