Colombian military, on alert for exercises in Venezuela border

The Colombian military is on special alert for the exercises of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces of Venezuela, a senior commander said on Thursday, calling the deployment ordered by the socialist president Nicolás Maduro on the border as an "open threat."

The Venezuelan military deployment and the exercises on the border with Colombia

The Venezuelan military deployment and the exercises on the border with Colombia

Reuters | Luis Jaime Acosta

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Leer en español: Militares de Colombia, en alerta por ejercicios de Venezuela en frontera

Military practices, which will run until the end of September, began Tuesday in the Venezuelan states of the 2,219-kilometer border with Colombia.

"As for the exercises that the Venezuelan regime is developing, as we have stated publicly, we are on a special alert, we are following up," the commander of the Military Forces, General Luis Fernando Navarro, told reporters.

The Venezuelan military exercises were ordered by Maduro after he denounced an alleged aggression plan of Colombia, which Bogotá denied amid crossings of accusations in which the government of President Iván Duque said that the socialist president to protect FARC dissidents and ELN leaders.

Navarro explained that Colombian troops are protecting the border and fighting illegal economies such as drug trafficking, illegal mining and armed groups such as criminal gangs and guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

"We are in a special degree of alert because we have been threatened openly," said the officer.

Previously, Colombia, which along with other countries does not know Maduro as the legitimate president of the oil country, announced that it will not be provoked by Venezuela and described military exercises near the binational border as a threat to the region.

Later, Maduro strongly called his armed force to defend the country and said that with military practices they seek to send a message to the United States and Colombia.

"Duque, look at me well, look at me well Duque ... leave still whoever is still. Don't mess with Venezuela," Maduro said in a government act broadcast on the state television channel. "Venezuela is respected, damn it!"

Also read: Maduro: “Colombia is attempting a military aggression against Venezuela”

Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo denounced on Wednesday at the OAS that Maduro protects FARC and ELN dissidents, while with 12 votes it was approved to consult the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) when considering that the crisis in Venezuela It has a destabilizing impact and threatens the peace and security of the region.

In Caracas, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that convening the TIAR consultation body was an "infamous decision" of countries "aligned" with the United States.

He added that since 2013, Venezuela "decoupled" from the TIAR and therefore "does not accept or recognize any obligations arising from this Agreement."

The TIAR is an agreement that was signed in 1947, before the foundation of the OAS. Currently, it is made up of 19 countries that have ratified it. The agreement offers possible actions beyond those of a diplomatic nature, including the use of armed force.

But the possibility is remote, according to diplomatic sources, because it takes 13 votes or two thirds of the foreign ministers of the member countries among which are Cuba, Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago that oppose measures that involve the use of the strength.

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