Venezuela’s Maduro Launches War Games to Threaten Colombia

In this photo released to the media by the Miraflores presidential palace press office, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro jogs ahead of soldiers during a visit last month to Carabobo State. (Marcelo Garcia/Miraflores presidential palace press office via AP)
Marcelo Garcia/Miraflores presidential palace press office via AP

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro ordered the armed forces to organize the “Sovereignty and Peace Military Exercises” on the nation’s border with Colombia on Tuesday, following disparaging remarks against that country’s government for accurately noting the link between Maduro and Marxist terrorists.

After abetting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) since the Hugo Chávez years, Maduro’s regime now claims to have “nothing to do” with the narco-terrorist organization after most of its high-ranking leaders announced the return to terrorist violence in a video last week. Colombian officials have concluded the video was likely filmed on Venezuelan soil given the expansion of the FARC’s territorial control of rural areas of that country.

Venezuela’s state propaganda broadcaster, VTV, announced Tuesday that Maduro scheduled military exercises on the border with Colombia to run September 10 – 28. The purpose of the exercises is to “preserve the security and peace in the country,” VTV said.

“The current government of Colombia does not want peace, they want war, it is lamentable,” Maduro said, accusing conservative President Iván Duque of conspiring to blame Venezuelan erroneously for violence and create a “false positive” for an invasion.

“Now they want to accuse Venezuela of being the cause of a war that is over 70 years old,” Maduro said.

Maduro also declared an “orange alert” on the border, along with the military exercises, “to tune up all the weapons systems, all the operational deployment, and military activity necessary so that Venezuela can maintain its security and tranquility.”

“Venezuela counts on a [military that is] prepared up to the highest standards of professionalism and technical capability,” Maduro boasted Tuesday on Twitter. “We are proud of you guys and gals in the Bolivarian military.”

The current escalation in tensions between Colombia and Venezuela followed the reemergence of “Jesús Santrich,” a Colombian senator and FARC terrorist, who disappeared after being charged with attempting to smuggle 10,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. While the FARC is ideologically a violent Marxist group, it also generates millions of dollars in drug trafficking profits, which experts believe it shares with Maduro’s regime. Evidence tying senior Maduro officials to drug cartels indicates that the government itself often operates as an organized crime syndicate that cooperates with groups like the FARC.

Santrich and another FARC terrorist offered an uncontested senate seat. “Iván Márquez” appeared in a video last week announcing that, despite agreeing to give up their weapons in exchange for becoming a legal political party with congressional appointments, they were declaring war on Colombia again. Márquez blamed Duque for allegedly violating the 2016 peace deal that triggered an unprecedented cocaine boom and urged Colombians to take up arms against the “oligarchy.” Santrich later appeared in a video repeating Márquez’s call to arms and urging Colombian soldiers to defect to the terrorist group.

The war appeared to have begun this weekend with the killing of Karina García, a socialist mayoral candidate in a rural town who campaigned against drug cultivation and guerrilla violence in her hometown.

Duque responded to the videos by vowing to crush the FARC and hold Maduro responsible for aiding it.

“Colombia does not accept threats of any nature, and much less from drug traffickers,” Duque said in a national address. “Colombians must be clear that we are not before the birth of a new guerrilla, but before the criminal threats of a gang of narco-terrorists who count on the sanctuary and support of the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro.”

Maduro was not the first in his regime to respond. Instead, he sent out television host and senior United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) cadre Diosdado Cabello – widely believed to be the head of the Cartel de los Soles cocaine trafficking ring.

“Today they are blaming us from Colombia. We lament profoundly what is happening in Colombia,” Cabello said of the Santrich and Márquez video. “That didn’t start because of Venezuela’s fault.”

“What does this have to do with Venezuela? Nothing,” Cabello insisted.

FARC terrorists released a new video from their undisclosed jungle location on Wednesday, announcing the launch of the “Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia,” the official name of the new terrorist campaign launched on the country. “Bolivarian” is an adjective the Maduro regime uses for all of its arms, civilian and military; it refers to its country as the “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

“Popular triumph is feasible if we all rise as a single front against the evil government,” Márquez said. “Colombia can end the usual oligarchical castes, saying enough to corrupt rulers, congressmen, and magistrates.”

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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