TODAY VENEZUELA – Venezuela tried to downplay its illegal entry of troops into Colombia this week by claiming the constantly changing direction of a river near the border accidentally led the soldiers beyond their jurisdiction.
Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said the Venezuelan soldiers entered Colombia’s eastern department of Arauca as a result of the Arauca River, which she said is constantly changing its flow and direction.
A diplomatic commission still has to clarify the incident, which is reportedly expected in the coming hours.
The government of Venezuela confirmed soldiers who invaded neighboring territory were part of a group carrying out operations to combat supposed criminal acts by Colombians near the border.
According to Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, the issue was addressed during a phone conversation with Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro. Santos reportedly told him it was “unacceptable” for Venezuelan troops to enter another country and raise their flag — a gesture that could have been interpreted as a violation of Colombian sovereignty.
Maduro told Santos the troops had already left the area, and rejected versions of the incident allegedly distorting it into an “invasion” of Colombian territory, which generated considerable discomfort for the inhabitants of Arauca.
Venezuelan soldiers reportedly lowered their flag and were seen off by Colombian residents, who sang Colombia’s national anthem as they went.
This is not the first time such a military controversy has taken place between the two nations. Venezuelan soldiers have entered Colombia and been asked to return to their country on multiple occasions.
Article originally appeared on Panampost.com