Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said recently that former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe is behind a botched assassination plot against him.
That accusation, the latest tit-for-tat between the two government leaders, has reignited tensions between the two neighboring countries – once longtime allies whose relations fractured when their political ideologies split.
Now Uribe, a conservative, is threatening to take Maduro, a leftist leader, to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and has said he wants a libel investigation against the Venezuelan leader. If Maduro enters Colombia, Uribe said, he could be detained for libel.
"In the next few hours I will appeal to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to ask for precautionary measures in favor of the former President Alvaro Uribe every time Mr Maduro's actions put his life and bodily integrity at risk."
- Uribe’s lawyer, Jaime Granados Peña
But Maduro is not backing down – he insists he has proof that Uribe tried to have him killed. He also suggested the two-term Colombian president was also involved in the killing of a Venezuelan journalist.
According to the BBC, Uribe said the recent accusations have him fearing for his own life.
"In the next few hours I will appeal to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to ask for precautionary measures in favor of the former President Alvaro Uribe every time Mr Maduro's actions put his life and bodily integrity at risk," Uribe’s lawyer, Jaime Granados Peña, wrote, according to the BBC.
Venezuela also launched an attack against the U.S. after President Barack Obama appeared wavered on whether Maduro should be recognized as Venezuela’s new leader. Maduro also accused Washington of being behind violence that has followed its recent presidential election.
Obama, in an interview with television network Univision during his trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, said the idea that an American filmmaker detained by Venezuela's government is a spy is, in his words, "ridiculous." He also questioned the validity of the recent election, saying that reports indicate that basic principles of human rights, democracy, press freedom and freedom of assembly were not observed in Venezuela.
Thirty-five-year-old Timothy Tracy, of West Hollywood, California, was formally charged last week with crimes including conspiracy, association for criminal purposes and use of a false document.
A foreign ministry statement said that Obama's "fallacious, intemperate and interventionist declaration" will lead toward deteriorating relations between the countries and "confirms to the world the policy of aggression his government maintains against our country."
"Venezuela rejects with all the force of its Bolivarian dignity the declaration by United States President Barack Obama which again attacks the legitimate Venezuelan government," the foreign ministry statement said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.