CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced that military exercises will take place on the country’s border with Colombia from September 10 to 28, after saying Bogota represents a “threat of aggression.”
After declaring “orange alert” in the face of the Colombian threat, Maduro ordered the Armed Forces and all frontier military units to carry out the large-scale maneuvers he called “Sovereignty and Peace.”
“We will take a series of measures to ensure peace and sovereignty, I ordered the Strategic Operational Commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Force and all border military units to declare an orange alert against Colombia’s threat of aggression against Venezuela, and begin September 10, through September 18, the ‘Sovereignty and Peace’ military exercises,” the Venezuelan leader said in a Twitter broadcast.
On August 31, the Venezuelan government presented evidence of what it called paramilitary training camps in Colombia that were being used to train people to allegedly plan violent attacks in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan leader also accused Colombian President Iván Duque of mounting “false positives” to start a military conflict.
Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez showed satellite television images of the alleged camps on state television and accused Duque of doing nothing to prevent aggression against Caracas.
The two neighboring nations regularly accuse each other of supporting anti-government militias.
The military maneuvers will take place to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the creation of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces Operational Strategic Command (CEOFANB) to “tune the entire weapons system” and ensure that Venezuela “preserves its security, peace and tranquility,” Maduro added.
Maduro last month also accused former Colombian leader Álvaro Uribe of planning to hire mercenaries to assassinate him.
The alleged assassination attempt, according to Maduro, was reported to have occurred in August last year during a military parade in Caracas. At the time, the Venezuelan head of state emerged unscathed from a drone attack that left seven agents of his personal guard injured. Following this episode, Maduro accused several Venezuelan and Colombian authorities and/or politicians of planning the attack, under US orders.
“I learned of a plan coordinated by Álvaro Uribe Velez involving Colombia’s ambassador to the United States, Francisco Santo, to send 32 mercenaries to Venezuela to try to kill me,” Maduro said during a speech.
Despite Maduro’s allegations, both Bogota and Washington deny any involvement in the frustrated attack on Maduro in 2018.