Maduro asks Colombia’s military to violate orders against Venezuela

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Venezuela's Maduro flexes military muscle

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called on Colombia’s military to “disobey orders to disrupt Venezuela’s peace,” in the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the neighbouring South American countries.

Maduro, a socialist, broke off diplomatic relations with Bogota in February, after a failed U.S.-backed effort to transport humanitarian aid into Venezuela from the Colombian border.

The aid had been requested by Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who in January invoked the constitution to assume a rival presidency,

Maduro frequently calls Colombian President Ivan Duque a lackey for the United States and accuses him of conspiring to overthrow him. Duque says Maduro provides a safe haven to leftist Colombian rebel groups and has accused him of providing arms to the leadership of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

“To the armed forces of Colombia, let us unite in one sole military force in the spirit of the great fatherland to unite our peoples in peace, to reject gringo military bases in Colombia, to reject plans for military aggression against Venezuela,” Maduro said in a state television broadcast.

“To the armed forces of Colombia, who receive daily orders to conspire against Venezuela’s peace: Disobey orders to disrupt Venezuela’s peace,” he added.

Arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate, Presidential elections which were held in Venezuela on 20 May 2018, with incumbent Nicolás Maduro being re-elected for a second six-year term. …

Bertucci asked that the elections be repeated without Maduro and he was inaugurated on 10 January 2019, leading to the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis. He has been recognized as the rightful leader by most Western countries, including the United States and Colombia.

In recent years, both countries have accused the other’s armed forces of cross-border incursions. Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino called on Colombian troops last month not to back Duque’s “interventionism” after Duque said Venezuelan troops’ support for Guaido could fracture the armed forces.

Colombia is hosting more than 1 million Venezuelan migrants who have fled their country’s humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

 

 

Zainab Sa’id