Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos a “failure” and a “hypocrite” for meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela at a time when Colombia faces severe human rights issues.
"With this message, I give my answer to the Government of Colombia, which is meddling. Get your hands off Venezuela, President Juan Manuel Santos. You failure. That is my answer for you," Maduro said on Friday.
The president called Santos "hypocrite" for criticizing Venezuela when he has "destroyed and keeps in misery our sister nation of Colombia".
The Venezuelan government condemned the "systematic attacks by the Colombian Government" and rejected the way in which Colombia referred to the "terrorist act against the headquarters of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Ministry of Interior as minor incidents" in a recent statement.
The foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that it was regrettable "that the Government of Colombia refers to the existence of political prisoners in Venezuela, when it has 9,500 political prisoners in their prisons and murders for ideological reasons frequently occur."
It also referred to problems that the Colombian people have faced for more than 60 years, including paramilitarism, inequality, exclusion, poverty and enforced disappearances, which "contribute to maintaining the high level of violence in Colombia."
Maduro said Caracas will react to the criticism of Santos and defend its sovereignty.
The Venezuela government reiterated that it "demands respect for its sovereignty and rejects the aggressions" against the country while "supporting bilateral relations and promoting peace between sister nations."