A group of artists and intellectuals from Colombia and Venezuela have signed a declaration in favor of better relations between the two countries. According to the Caracas newspaper El Universal, the letter states that Colombia and Venezuela share a common past and must work together to solve their current dispute.
At issue is the spat caused by President Uribe’s cancellation of a humanitarian mediation in Colombia by President Chavez, and Chavez’s insistence on negotiating hostage releases. Many say that Chavez is the best hope for ending Colombia’s 50-year conflict.
The letter in favor of unity between the neighboring countries was spearheaded by Venezuelan ex-President and historian Ramón J. Velásquez and Colombia’s Nobel Prize-winning novelist, Gabriel García Márquez (pictured at right). Here is an excerpt:
“The undersigned, Colombians and Venezuelans involved in the world of culture, consider it necessary at this time to remember the historic and fraternal bonds that unite these two nations so that we might prevent them from becoming marked by discord due to conflicting interests at highest levels of power. “
The artists’ declaration continues: “The principles and values that we share do not permit us to remain indifferent to official statements provoking hostility and distance where there has always been and should remain a strong sense of friendship and closeness.”