November 28, 2015 / 1:56 AM / 2 years ago

Colombian president condemns killing of Venezuelan activist

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Friday the whole world should condemn the killing of a Venezuelan opposition activist ahead of the country’s elections next week.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos speaks after casting his vote during local and regional elections at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia October 25, 2015. REUTERS/John Vizcaino

Luis Diaz, a leader of the opposition Democratic Action party in Guarico state in Venezuela’s central plains, was shot dead toward the end of a public meeting on Wednesday night, the latest of several violent incidents in the campaign ahead of Dec. 6 elections.

“What happened in Venezuela of course deserves the condemnation of the whole world,” Santos said during a visit to Monteria in northern Colombia. “This murder has no justification, we hope the case is investigated thoroughly and those responsible are tried.”

Polls show the ruling Socialists could lose the Venezuelan legislature for the first time in 16 years.

The vote’s high stakes have fueled fears of political violence. Last year 43 people were killed and hundreds injured when opposition protests across the country turned violent.

Neighbors Colombia and Venezuela have long had a fraught relationship. Tensions flared most recently in August, when Venezuela closed parts of the countries’ shared border and deported more than 1,000 Colombians.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta,; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Sandra Maler

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