Colombia expels senior Cuban diplomat and Havana responds with "energetic protest"

The Colombian Foreign Ministry decided to declare “persona non grata“To the first secretary of the Embassy of Cuba in Bogotá, Omar Rafael García Lazo, for supposedly being “developing incompatible activities in the country”To his diplomatic work. Given this, the Cuban Foreign Ministry called the ambassador of Colombia in Havana to express his “energetic protest”.

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Through a brief statement on its official social networks, the Colombian Foreign Ministry announced that it has made the decision “after verification that (the official) was carrying out activities in the country incompatible with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”.

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The diplomatic corps did not provide further information on these activities, but insisted that, despite this decision, Colombia’s purpose is “privilege the diplomatic and cooperative relationship with the Republic of Cuba ”, according to s posted on his Twitter account.

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For its part, Cuba also responded on Twitter. “Today we summon the Ambassador of Colombia (Juan Manuel Corzo Román) to convey by means of a verbal note our energetic protest over the decision”Said Eugenio Martínez, director of Latin America for the Cuban Foreign Ministry in a tweet.

The official demanded that “the alleged reasons for this unusual decision are exposed”. This decision was “unfounded” and “constitutes an unfriendly act” that affects the normal functioning of the Cuban Embassy in Colombia, Martínez said.

The Cuban official assured that “Cuban diplomats comply seriously and rigorously” with the Vienna Convention.

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Colombia’s relations with Cuba have been troubled since the island refused to extradite four members of the Colombian guerrilla from the National Liberation Army (ELN) who are on the island, including “Gabino” and “Pablo Beltrán”, after Colombia requested their extradition after the attack against a police academy in Bogotá that two years ago left 22 cadets dead.

Cuba was included last January by the government of former US President Donald Trump in the list of countries that “do not cooperate fully” in the fight against terrorism precisely because of the presence in their territory of representatives of the ELN after the failed peace negotiations.

The ELN began peace negotiations in Quito in February 2017 with the former Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos, which in May 2018 were transferred to Havana, where the last round of dialogue concluded without progress in early August of that same year. .

The Colombian president, Iván Duque, conditioned the continuity of the peace talks on that group stop kidnapping and release the people it holds in captivity, which the guerrillas refuse to abide by.

Meanwhile, Duque has faced massive protests throughout the country since 2019, which in recent days have grown strongly in rejection of a tax reform that has already been withdrawn and have left 26 dead in nine days.

With information from EFE and AFP.

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