Maduro asks Colombia's military to 'disobey' orders against Venezuela

The message aired after the US sanctioned more than 20 people, including three Maduro's stepsons and a Colombian businessman for a food corruption scandal

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with military high command members in Caracas, Venezuela July 24, 2019.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with military high command members in Caracas, Venezuela July 24, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez, with Reuters information

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday called on Colombia's military to "disobey orders to disrupt Venezuela's peace," in the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the neighboring South American countries.

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.

It is not the first time that Maduro attacks Colombian President nor Colombia itself. Only a few months ago, on April, he stated that "Colombia's a failed state". On October, 2018, he said that Duque "is a devil that hates Venezuela."

Venezuelan leader, Nicolas Maduro, has held an anti-Yankee war, trying to fight against the US power.

This broadcast is an answer to the accusations made by the US Department of the Treasury. On Thursday, according to The New York Times, officials accused some Maduro's family members of a food corruption scheme, affecting the country, who is almost entirely starving. "For years, the men had used shell companies and no-bid contracts to siphon off government money, largely from Venezuela’s state-run food program, for their own profit," said officials.

Foods in Venezuela have been used by the officialism to keep control of the people, giving some benefits for the people listed in the official party.

The US sanctioned more than 20 people, including three Maduro's stepsons and a Colombian businessman. However, "the sanctions would not stop food or medicine from being sent to Venezuela to ease shortages during the crisis," commented The New York Times.

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.

Also read: Venezuelan capital resumes activities after blackout 

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, arguing Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate. 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.

Meanwhile, Colombia and Brazil are going to gather together and discuss a message sent by the US to overthrow Maduro.

Colombian chancellor did not specify what the message said. He said that after a Lima Group reunion they received a statement with the possible actions that the Group may carry out. "We will try to analyze together the importance of the statement," said Carlos Holmes Trujillo.

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