Venezuela is said to have fended off an attack by Colombian mercenaries. Colombia denies participation. Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó called the incident “staged”.
According to the government of Venezuela Colombian “mercenaries” attacked the country – but the alleged attack could have been prevented. Eight people were killed and two others arrested, said the president of the pro-Venezuelan constitutional assembly, Diosdado Cabello. The group has “terrorist attacks” to overthrow Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro planned. Colombia denied any involvement in the incident.
Venezuela’s interior minister, Néstor Reverol, accused the US and Colombia of jointly planning the attack. The group tried to reach the northern coastal state of La Guaira by speedboat. There she was intercepted by the army and special police forces. Subsequently, a major search by plane on the sea and on land was searched for other suspects.
Guaidó fears further persecution of opposition figures
The Colombian State Department rejected the accusation as an “unsubstantiated attempt” to “involve the Colombian government in a speculative conspiracy”.
Venezuela’s opposition leader and internationally recognized interim president Juan Guaidó said the incident had been “staged” by the Venezuelan government under Maduro as a pretext for further persecution of opposition figures. In January 2019, the opposition-dominated National Assembly elected the previously largely unknown MP Guaidó as its chairman. At that time, Guaidó declared Maduro’s second term of office unlawful and became the interim president himself sworn in. (Read here an interview with him)
Last year Venezuela and Colombia their diplomatic relations put on hold. Venezuela has repeatedly accused the Colombian government of conspiring to overthrow the Maduro government and to train “mercenaries” on its territory. Colombia’s government under President Iván Duque described Venezuela’s controversial leftist head of state as a “dictator”.
Venezuela has been in a severe economic crisis for years. The situation is fearful of the spread of the coronavirus additionally aggravated. The population in the oil-rich country suffers from supply shortages in numerous goods. According to the United Nations, more than 45 million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015. Around 1.7 million of them worked in neighboring Colombia, however, because of the corona crisis now return to Venezuela.