Q COSTA RICA – The situation in Venezuela had two Nobel Peace Prize winners at odds on the first day of the Voy por la Paz event, a three-day (June 8, 9 & 10) forum organized by the Fundacion para la Democracia Internacional (Foundation for International Democacry) in the city of Rosario, Argentina.

At the press conference of the first day, former President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez clashed with the position of the Argentine activist and human rights defender Adolfo Perez Esquivel on what is happending in Venezeula.

Arias was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 1987, Perez in 1980.

“There is hardly a country that is living the economic, social and humanitarian distress that the Venezuelan people live,” said Arias.

“It is very sad what is happening to the Venezuelan people today … Unfortunately, the price that Venezuelans will have to pay when they turn the page of chavismo is a very high price. Rebuilding the foundations of that economy will require a lot of time,” Arias said.

Perez said he did not agree with what the former president of Costa Rica had to say.

“I do not agree with Oscar Arias with his vision about Venezuela. Here in Argentina we have political prisoners and we have a constitutional democracy … It is true that in Venezuela things are not perfect, they have many problems and we do not have to hide them, but we have to have a more objective, deeper look. There is a lot of silence from American interventionism that does not want an independent country, does not want the liberation of our peoples,” he said.

Arias and Perez were not the only Nobel Peace Prize winnners, the event was also attended by Iranain human rights defender Shirin Edabi (Nobel Peace Prize 2003), Guatemalan indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchú (Nobel Peace Prize 1992) and Polish politician and trade unionist Lech Walesa (Nobel Peace Prize 1983).

One man was engulfed in flames during one of the protests in Caracas in May. (CARLOS BECERRA / AFP / Getty Images)

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