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Maduro accuses Colombian president of seeking war with Venezuela

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday put the military on alert on the border with Colombia, accusing its president, Ivan Duque, of “maneuvering” to “spark a conflict” under the pretext that former FARC leaders announced they would return to arms.

In military terms, Maduro accused soldiers in a hall in Caracas of Colombia’s president of using “baseless accusations to attack Venezuela and wage a military conflict against our country.” He said Duque was “maneuvering” to “reinforce” these accusations and exacerbate tensions.

Maduro announced that the military units deployed on the border between the two countries, which is 2200 km long, were placed in an “orange alert” in the “face of Colombia’s threat of aggression against Venezuela.” But he did not explain what “orange alert” means.

Relations between Maduro and Doki are essentially strained. But their war of words escalated last week over former leaders of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rejecting a 2016 peace deal and returning to take up arms again.

Duque accused the Venezuelan authorities of “harboring” and “supporting” these rebels.

Shortly after FARC leaders announced, Ivan Duque ordered a military offensive against what he called a “drug-trafficking terrorist gang that relies on the sanctuary and support of the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro” in Venezuela.

In his speech Tuesday, Maduro also announced that Venezuelan troops would hold military exercises on the same border between 10 and 28 September to ensure “full readiness”.

– “Terrorist Projects” –

“The main threat to Venezuela’s national security comes from organized crime and guerrillas based on its territory, such as the Colombian National Liberation Army or FARC dissidents,” military analyst Rossio San Miguel told AFP.

Caracas is constantly talking about “terrorist projects” aimed at overthrowing Maduro, involving Colombia in particular. The government confirmed on Saturday that it had “thwarted the worst terrorist attack against the Venezuelan people” which was supposed to be carried out with explosive charges in central Caracas, accusing Duque and the Venezuelan opposition of being behind him.

Duque keeps calling for Maduro’s departure. Colombia recognizes the opposition Juan Guaido, who has declared himself acting president and has been recognized by 50 countries, led by the United States.

Guaido on Thursday condemned the use of the country’s territory by a former official of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to declare his movement’s return to arms. “We reject the use of Venezuelan territory with the support of (President Nicolas) Maduro to spread these messages,” he wrote on Twitter.

After saying Tuesday that he had spoken by telephone with the Colombian president to reaffirm his support for “fighting the drug-related terrorism that afflicts our two countries,” he told reporters that he wanted to “cooperate with the Colombian government in intelligence and to monitor groups that operate illegally” on Venezuelan territory.

To that end, Guaidó confirmed that the parliament would allow the use of satellites to determine the locations of “camps on Venezuelan national territory” and those “from which aircraft involved in drug trafficking” take off.

But he did not say how he would use these methods. In practice, all decisions adopted by Parliament are considered invalid by the Supreme Court.

The opposition accuses the Supreme Court of being in full contact with the Maduro government, which the military is also still loyal to.

In February, Caracas severed diplomatic relations with Bogota after Colombia’s support for Guaido’s failed attempt.

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