BOGOTA, Colombia – Venezuela and Colombia each recalled their ambassadors for consultations on Thursday amid a dispute over the closing of a major border crossing and a weeklong crackdown on Colombian migrants and smugglers.
In a televised address, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he had recalled the country's ambassador from Venezuela, complaining that Venezuelan authorities hadn't let Colombia's Ombudsman enter a border city.
The diplomatic protest by Santos, more than a week into the crisis, came hours after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appeared on national TV and accused his counterpart of undermining reconciliation efforts by telling lies. Until then, Maduro had centered his verbal attacks on Santos' arch rival and predecessor, Alvaro Uribe.
Late Thursday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez announced the recall of that country's ambassador in Bogota, saying in a Twitter post that Maduro had requested the ambassador return for consultations about paramilitaries and other problems seeping into the country from Colombia.
Recalling an ambassador for consultations is he considered the diplomatic equivalent of lodging a complaint.
The moves come a day after foreign ministers from the two countries met but failed to reach an agreement. Rodriguez said the advances made at those meetings had been undermined by Colombian authorities.
The crisis was triggered a week ago when gunmen Maduro claimed were Colombian paramilitaries shot and wounded three army officers on an anti-smuggling patrol. In response, he closed a major border crossing, declared a state of emergency in six western cities and deported more than 1,000 Colombian migrants.