Colombian President: Venezuela is a 'dictatorship,' but US military action is a bad idea

amanpour interview president santos colombia_00041917
amanpour interview president santos colombia_00041917

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Story highlights

  • Colombia will welcome Pope Francis this week to celebrate the country's peace
  • Its President, Juan Manuel Santos, touts diplomacy as an approach to crises such as North Korea

(CNN)The crisis in Venezuela is a threat to the region and beyond, but military intervention is not a good option, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday.

Colombia, which borders Venezuela and has been flooded by people fleeing the economic and political strife there, has refused to recognize the new legislature of President Nicolas Maduro but still hopes there will be a peaceful resolution.
    "The Maduro regime has been shifting towards a dictatorship. I would consider that regime, today, a dictatorship," Santos told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
    "A dictatorship in the middle of Latin America, in a country which is as important as Venezuela, is something very bad for everybody," he said.
    But Santos rejected US President Donald Trump's comments about not ruling out a military option.
    "A military intervention will not be accepted by Colombia or by any other country in Latin America. This is not the way to go about this crisis."

    Advice: Stay away from Twitter

    Santos, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pact with the FARC guerrillas in Colombia, said behind-the-scenes talks were the best route to success, even in a situation as difficult as dealing with North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un.
    "We think that Twitter is the worst way to manage a good diplomacy and I think that through diplomacy, through dialogue, almost any problem can be solved," he said on "Amanpour."
    "If you start escalating in words then the possibility of escalating in real terms, in military terms, will become a closer possibility and that would be a terrible thing for the world," he said of the current US-North Korean tensions.
    "My advice, and I think the advice of most of the world, is please insist through diplomatic channels, through dialogue. Because insulting each other from one side to the other and escalating the aggressiveness will only have a bad result."

    Pope's visit

    Santos will welcome Pope Francis to Colombia this week to celebrate the peace with FARC and a new truce with ELN guerrillas.
    "He comes in the perfect moment to push us, in his own words, for the Colombian society to reconcile, to leave aside 53 years of war, of death, of violence and start working together to construct that peace. He comes in the perfect moment," Santos said of the pope's visit.
    And he hoped war is truly over for his nation.
    "The guns are silent now. The guns of the FARC, by far the biggest group, are in the hands of the United Nations. They're going to be converted into three monuments of peace."