Benedetti on Venezuela: We will never take the US by surprise – Government – Politics

The Colombian ambassador in Caracas, Armando Benedettiin dialogue with EL TIEMPO, assured, referring to the meeting between presidents Gustavo Petro and Nicolás Maduro, that everything that has been done with Venezuela goes hand in hand with the United States.

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How are relations with Venezuela?

Relations with Venezuela have always been a roller coaster. We have had a diplomatic relationship with them for 191 years, which ends this month. Today it can be said that the restoration of relations has begun and it can be said that they are fine.

And that restoration that contemplates?

Several things: appointing an ambassador there, that there be judicial cooperation, which already exists; cooperation of the Public Force, which already exists; reopening of the border, which we have already done, and air transport, which begins next week.

What about monomers?

The monomers (company that produces chemical fertilizers) is fundamental. Since we returned it to its real owner, that gave us an advantage to have the best urea price in the world. They are selling us for $600 a ton and to give you an idea, they are selling it to Cubans for $750 and in the trade it is between 750 and 950.

What can be highlighted from that meeting?

There are two important issues there. One is to rip off the borders from the mafias. Currently they say that there are 200 trails, of which tractor trailers pass through 10. So we have to get that out of the mafias and for that collaboration is required, because those who are involved always end up being high officials on both sides.

What results does this leave so far?

To date, compared to what was done last year, we have already passed US$600 million, which is 115 percent more, and I think we can reach US$2 billion this year.

Are we talking about trade?

No sir, only exports. And to use a popular term we can say that we have it ‘papaya’, because with the price of the dollar and that they are going to pay us around the corner in dollars, that is an opportunity that businessmen cannot miss.

And how are they paying?

They are paying for everything in dollars, in cash and in advance.

Everything that has been done with Venezuela goes hand in hand with the United States, here we will never take the United States by surprise

Specifically, what else was agreed upon in the meeting between the two presidents?

There is a point that is very important and that is that Petro goes to Caracas and tells Maduro to return to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and to our surprise he replies that he is going to review and study it. This shows that Petro is taking leadership in the region and that is why what must be sought is that the region be united to face and negotiate with international banks, to end the drug policy imposed on us by the United States through a catalog and for us to be a monolithic body.

About border security, what did they talk about?

That was the second most important point of the meeting with Maduro. Petro is very concerned that the border has been opened and that the mafias continue to control many of the crossings.

And what has been thought?

At least change the officials who are there. I don’t want to accuse anyone, but on both sides there are officials who have collaborated for smuggling. It is necessary to make some personnel changes.

But in the United States it seems that they are not very happy with the appointment of Petro and Maduro…

Not that I know of. They don’t get into it. Everything that has been done with Venezuela goes hand in hand with the United States, here we are never going to take the United States by surprise.

Hand in hand with the United States?

It goes hand in hand with the United States. I have a fluid relationship with James Story, who is in charge of the United States for Venezuela. I try to tell you what can be said and tell you what is going to be said.

Did Washington know about that from that meeting?

Sure, everything.

This Monday, November 1, the presidents met at the Miraflores Palace.


Colombian Presidency

Speaking of the consular issue, when are the consulates restored?

I hope that the Foreign Ministry appoints the consuls as soon as possible. Those that the Foreign Ministry wants.

And how are the flights going?

The other week two airlines start. Turpial airline starts on Monday. Satena begins to fly from Colombia and Turpial from Venezuela. Currently a Colombian who wants to get to Caracas has to go to Panama and wait five hours for a transfer to be able to travel to Caracas. And the ticket can cost up to a thousand dollars.

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