Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia says Maduro claims 'crazy'

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
Image caption The meeting between Mr Capriles (L) and Mr Santos (R) sparked angry reactions from Venezuela

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has dismissed as "crazy" allegations that his government is trying to destabilise neighbouring Venezuela.

He said the latest row, which broke out this week, was a misunderstanding.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had accused Mr Santos of "backstabbing" his country by meeting opposition leader Henrique Capriles on Tuesday.

Mr Capriles lost Venezuela's presidential election in April but claims the vote was fraudulent.

Speaking in south-western Colombia, Mr Santos said: "It's crazy to think that the Colombian government might be aware, or even worse, backing some kind of action to destabilize the Venezuelan government."

Years of tension

He was responding to comments by Mr Maduro who said on Thursday that he had information that proved that the Colombian government wanted to overthrow him.

But Mr Santos called it all a "misunderstanding", which he said should be resolved diplomatically.

The dispute is the latest in years of tensions between the two neighbours, due largely to ideological differences.

Mr Capriles' visit to Colombia was part of a tour of Latin American countries to press his case that the Venezuelan president fraudulently won last month's election.

The Venezuelan opposition leader was defeated by a margin of 1.49 percentage points, according to official figures released by the electoral council.

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