Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, has put the military forces on high alert across the border from Colombia, accusing Bogota of plotting an attack against his country.
Speaking during a military ceremony in the capital Caracas on Tuesday, Maduro said he has ordered the commander of the armed forces “to declare an alert … in the face of the threatened aggression by Colombia toward Venezuela.”
He also said that military exercises would take place along the border from September 10 to 28, to “bring the armed system and the entire operational deployment into full readiness.”
The already tense relations between Maduro and his Colombian counterpart, Ivan Duque, have grown even worse in the last week, when Colombia’s former rebel group FARC called on its followers to take up arms once again after three years of peace with the government.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a deal with Bogota in Vietnam back in 2016. The agreement ended 50 years of conflict which claimed the lives of some 260,000 people.
Duque, who threatened to hunt down the leaders of the group, accused Maduro of providing “shelter and support” for the rebels.
Maduo reacted to the allegations saying, “Colombia’s government doesn’t want peace,”
“Not only has the Colombian government engaged Colombia in a worsening war, but it is using unfounded accusations to threaten Venezuela and provoke a military conflict with our country,” said Maduro.
“It wants war. It wants violence,” he said.
Colombia, along with the United States and its western allies, recognized Venezuela’s opposition figure Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of the county after he declared himself president in January.
Guaido offered to help Colombia track down the dissident FARC rebels earlier on Tuesday.
Guaido said he approved the use of satellites to help locate rebel groups who he said have crossed into Venezuela.
“We are going to collaborate with the Colombian government on intelligence activities” he added.
Maduro’s chief spokesman said over the weekend that the Colombian president allowed three paramilitary training camps to operate in its territory, with the aim of plotting to remove the Maduro government.
Maduro has previously accused Colombia of plotting to assassinate him.