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Venezuela Moves Troops to Colombian Border After Marxists Kill Soldiers

Venezuelan Minister of Defence General Vladimir Padrino (C), pictured with President Nicolas Maduro (L) on August 4, 2018, criticized Colombia for being "unable to control its groups, its violence and its drug trafficking"
AFP/Juan BARRETO

Venezuela’s defense minister announced Monday that he had ordered additional troops to the Colombian border after alleged “paramilitaries” killed three Venezuelan soldiers this weekend.

On Saturday, three Venezuelan soldiers died and ten were injured in an attack by an armed Colombian paramilitary group in Amazonas state. In an address on state television, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said that the attack was retribution for their capture of “nine Colombian paramilitary members.”

In a statement on Monday, Colombia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the attack on Venezuelan soldiers, denouncing it as an act of terrorism. According to local reports, the attack was carried about by guerrillas from the Marxist National Liberation Army (ELN). While Venezuela’s socialist regime enjoys warm relations with the largest Marxist terrorist group in Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the regime does not share similar ties to the ELN.

“Colombia rejects terrorism and violence generated by organized armed groups such as the ELN,” the Foreign Ministry said. “The fight against terrorism is a duty of all the states.”

In his remarks, Padrino confirmed that none of the soldiers injured the attack were in critical condition but did not specify how many troops he would send to the border in retaliation.

“We will find the paramilitaries wherever they are,” Padrino declared. “For now I say to them: leave Venezuela. There is no space here. There has never been any space here for you.” He went on to criticize Colombia for being “unable to control its groups, its violence, and its drug trafficking.”

Violent confrontations between military personnel and paramilitary groups are fairly common along the along the 2,200-km (1,367-mile) border. The timing of this latest dispute comes as Colombia’s right-wing President Ivan Duque helps lead international efforts to remove Nicolás Maduro’s socialist dictatorship from power.
In September, Colombia was one of three American nations that refused to sign a document ruling out a military intervention in Venezuela, sparking speculation that they could be readying to go to war.
Last week, the Colombian government was also forced to deny a report claiming that they were plotting an invasion of the country with Brazil’s new president-elect Jair Bolsonaro. A senior Chavista general at the time claimed that Venezuela will bomb key Colombian infrastructure should they ever come under attack.
Colombia remains the nation most heavily affected by their neighbor’s ongoing economic crisis, having been forced to take in over a million Venezuelan refugees since 2017, nearly all of whom are looking for work or even in need of humanitarian assistance. According to Colombia’s foreign ministry, this figure could rise to four million people by 2021.

Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at bkew@breitbart.com.

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