Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on Colombia’s military to “disobey orders to disrupt Venezuela’s peace,” within the latest sign of worsening relations among the neighboring South American countries.
Maduro repeatedly calls Colombian President Ivan Duque a servant for the US and accuses him of scheming to overthrow him. Duque says Maduro gives a secure haven to leftist Colombian rebel groups and has accused him of providing arms to the management of the National Liberation Army (ELN).
To the military forces of Colombia, let us unite in a single sole navy power within the spirit of the great fatherland to unite our peoples in peace, to reject gringo military bases in Colombia, to reject plans for military aggression against Venezuela, Maduro said in a state television broadcast.
Maduro, a socialist, broke diplomatic relations with Bogota in February, after a suspended U.S.-backed attempt to transport humanitarian aid into Venezuela from the Colombian border.
Juan Guaido had requested the aid, the top of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who in January invoked the structure to assume a rival presidency, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was unconstitutional. He has been acknowledged as the rightful chief by most Western countries, including the United States and Colombia.
In recent years, each nation has accused the other’s armed forces of cross-border invasions. Vladimir Padrino, Venezuelan Defense Minister, called on Colombian troops last month to not again Duque’s “interventionism” after Duque mentioned Venezuelan troops’ help for Guaido might fracture the armed forces.
Colombia is now hosting more than 1 million Venezuelan migrants who have escaped their country’s humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.