Reuters CARACAS (Reuters) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday ordered the armed forces to be on alert for a potential attack by Colombia’s government and announced military exercises on the border amid the rearmament of a group of former guerrilla commanders.
Former FARC guerillas on Thursday announced a rearmament in a video that Colombian authorities believe was filmed in Venezuela, spurring concern of a worsening of the Colombian armed conflict and expansion of armed groups in Venezuela.
“I’ve ordered the strategic operations commander of the Bolivarian Armed Forces and all the military units on the border to declare an alert ... in the face of the threatened aggression by Colombia toward Venezuela,” Maduro said in a televised broadcast.
A set of military exercises that are carried out each year will be held between Sept. 10 and Sept. 29 in the states of Zulia, Tachira, Apure and Amazonas, which border Colombia, Maduro said. They are the third such exercises this year.
Despite the dramatic rhetoric, the statements are consistent with frequent disputes between the two nations for over a decade that at times included troop movements for political effect. Previous spats have ended in grudging reconciliation.