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Venezuela opposition protest Federico Parra/Getty Images

We Weep for You, Venezuela

President Nicolás Maduro’s government in Venezuela has dealt blow after blow to the country's democratic institutions. It is now incumbent on all countries, in Latin America and elsewhere, to speak up forcefully in defense of democracy and freedom, lest a new dictatorship be allowed to take hold in the region.

BOGOTÁ – Until recently, Venezuela – the birthplace of the “Liberator” Simón Bolívar – was a free and rather wealthy country, boasting the world’s largest proven oil reserves and a marvelous people. It attracted millions of Colombian migrants seeking to escape the violence of the war against the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Today, those roles are being reversed: just as Colombia’s 50-year war against the FARC is ending, Venezuela is collapsing economically, socially, and politically.

Colombia is the country with the most at stake in the crisis afflicting our neighbor and sister republic. Indeed, our countries are joined by every possible link: history, culture, economics, and geography, with more than 1,300 miles of shared border.

We in Colombia always hope for Venezuela to prosper. That is why we – along with many other states and world leaders, including the Vatican and Pope Francis himself – are doing everything possible to encourage Venezuela’s government, led by President Nicolás Maduro, and the opposition to reach an honorable solution to the crisis.

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