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Venezuela’s Maduro urges military loyalty after Trump’s threat

25 August 2017 18:06

 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has warned the country’s armed forces against “fissures” in their ranks amid US threats of military action.

Addressing the country’s top military officials ahead of military drills, which are seen a show of strength and unity, Maduro urged the officials to “be prepared to fight fiercely… in the face of an eventual” invasion.

US President Donald Trump, who has promised to “continue to take strong and swift actions against the architects of authoritarianism in Venezuela,” said earlier this month that Washington has “many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.”

Maduro said, “We must be clear, especially for the youth in the military, that we must close ranks within the homeland — that this is no time for any fissures and that those with doubts should leave the armed forces immediately.”

Nicolas Maduro waving during a rally against US President Donald Trump, in Caracas, on August 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“You are with Trump and the imperialists, or you are with the Bolivarian national armed forces and the homeland,” he said on Thursday. “Never before has Venezuela been threatened in such a way.”

Washington has imposed economic sanctions directly targeting Maduro, accusing him of “dictatorship.” Maduro says the US is seeking to stifle oil exports through sanctions and a “nSaveaval blockade” on the Latin American country. He also said the US and its allies in the region are fomenting instability to bring down his government.

Venezuela has been the scene of deadly protests against Maduro’s government for the last four months. More than 120 people have been killed and thousands arrested so far.

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