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Venezuela announces military exercises on Colombian border

The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, announced on Tuesday military exercises on the border with Colombia, which he again pointed out to plan an attack on Venezuelan territory.

President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro

President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. / CNN Via REUTERS

Reuters | Corina Pons y Vivian Sequera

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Leer en español: Venezuela anuncia ejercicios militares en frontera con Colombia

Maduro's statement came hours after the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, said that as interim president he will "authorize" the use of satellite tracking to locate guerrilla groups and Colombian rebel leaders in Venezuela.

Maduro said he ordered Venezuelan military units to be on alert on the Colombian border for "the threat of aggression."

He also added that amidst the 14 years celebration of the Strategic Operational Command of the armed force, military exercises will be held from September 10 to 29 in the Zulia, Táchira, Apure and Amazonas states, or the states of the 2,200-kilometer border with the neighboring nation.

"I have ordered the strategic operational commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces and all the military units of the border to declare an alert ... against the threat of aggression by Colombia against Venezuela," Maduro said in an act broadcast on television state.

The Venezuelan military carried out military exercises on at least two occasions this year, in January and July.

Colombia has denied similar accusations by the Venezuelan government in the past.

The Colombian president, Iván Duque, promised to persecute a group of demobilized rebel leaders who announced last week the return to the armed struggle in Colombia for feeling betrayed in a peace agreement signed in 2016.

Read also: Peru will raise border control to prevent illegal entry of Venezuelans

Duque has said that FARC members receive support from Venezuelan authorities.

Guaidó said they intend to cooperate with Colombia with the information provided by Venezuelan intelligence officials who, he said, support the opposition, but did not clarify whether that would be the same source to obtain data from a satellite scan or how it would achieve that tracking.

The opponent is recognized by Colombia as interim president with dozens of countries after declaring Maduro's second term illegitimate, who retains control over the state apparatus and the military, among others.

"We are going to collaborate with the Colombian government for intelligence activities," Guaidó added in a session of the National Assembly, where he also accused Maduro of being a traitor for supporting former leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"We are going to authorize the use of satellite technology to facilitate the location of these irregular groups, of camps housed in the national territory ... and also the take-off of aircraft for illicit drug trafficking."

The Ministry of Information did not immediately respond to a request for comments on what Guaidó said. 

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