Venezuela’s leading state prosecutor Tarek William Saab claimed this week that the neighboring country of Colombia is planning a “military invasion” as the country’s humanitarian and political crisis continues to worsen.
“In Colombia, they are planning to revive eras that had ended in human history, like military bombing, a military invasion or the occupation, through blood and gunfire, of a peaceful country like Venezuela,” Saab said on national television. “We will not allow it.”
Colombian General Alberto Jose Mejia immediately dismissed the comments on a visit to the Colombian border town of Cúcuta where tens and thousands of Venezuelan migrants are fleeing.
“Just thinking about that possibility is ridiculous,” he told reporters.
Tensions between Colombia and Venezuela are currently at breaking point as Colombian authorities struggle to manage the burden of thousands of Venezuelans in need of humanitarian assistance.
Last week, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced stricter border controls between the two countries and blamed socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro for Venezuela’s current predicament.
“I want to repeat to President Maduro: this is the result of your policies, it is not the fault of Colombians and it’s the result of your refusal to receive humanitarian aid which has been offered in every way, not just from Colombia but from the international community,” Santos said.
Santos has also expressed support for economic sanctions against the Maduro regime and Maduro, in turn, describing him as “very evil” and accusing him of drug trafficking.
The Venezuelan migration crisis is now affecting other regional countries such as Brazil and the Dominican Republic, which have also seen people fleeing the humanitarian situation amid growing levels of political persecution.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly outlined his tough stance against the Maduro regime through the imposing of economic sanctions, and last year floated the idea of a military solution as the country rapidly descends into a totalitarian dictatorship.
As a result, the Maduro regime has repeatedly used the threat as a warning that the U.S. plans to invade Venezuela, and has even told his troops to prepare for war.
“We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace,” Maduro declared at a military parade last year. “We need to have rifles, missiles, and well-oiled tanks at the ready … to defend every inch of the territory if need be.”