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Maduro wants troops at border with Colombia against US 'provocation'

Maduro wants troops at border with Colombia against US 'provocation'
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the military to come up with a plan for a permanent deployment of forces to the border with Colombia to avert “provocations” he accused the US of masterminding.

"Reinforcing the border with Colombia is necessary to make it “safe and peaceful,” Maduro said, adding that the permanent deployment would ensure that it is unpenetrable. "We must be well deployed to defend our land, to thwart any provocation, which we anticipate and which we do not know yet. Imagine them defending their maritime area against our marine and air force,” he said.

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"[Colombian President Ivan] Duque has plans against Venezuela supported by the US government,” the embattled Venezuelan leader said on Friday at the meeting marking the end of the largest ever Angostura military drills.

The deployment will be effective immediately, Maduro said, citing the imminent threat of provocation from Colombia.

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Duque has just returned from his trip to Washington where he discussed the political crisis in Venezuela, pledging support for self-declared 'interim president' Juan Guaido and his quest to oust Maduro from power.

“We need to give (Guaido) even stronger support to lead Venezuela,” Duque said at the Wednesday meeting, as Trump reiterated that he was considering “all options” in Venezuela.

Maduro has accused opposition of inviting a “US invasion, occupation and war.”

“Never in history has this happened,” he lamented.

Washington has been openly inciting a military overthrow of Maduro after US President Donald Trump, along with the US allies in the region and in Europe, recognized Guaido as a legitimate representative of the Venezuelan people.

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Last week, National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the US would offer sanctions relief to those officers who defect and side with Guaido.

Apart from tightening its squeeze on the cash-strapped Venezuelan economy with ever more sanctions, Venezuelan assets in the US got frozen and handed over to Guaido. Washington has also been directing “humanitarian aid” to border crossings with Venezuela, an effort that has been dismissed by Caracas as a “big lie” aimed at creating a “false positive impression” and prepare an invasion.

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Caracas’ fears of Trojan horses masked as humanitarian aid are not groundless. Current US envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams is known for providing material support to an array of US-backed dictators in Latin America in the 1980s, including secretly arming the anti-government guerillas in Nicaragua. Some of the deliveries were labelled as “humanitarian aid.”

Russia, China, Turkey and a number of other countries that hold big stakes in the Latin American country continue to stand by Maduro. The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the US of openly goading Venezuela’s army into a coup with its unequivocal endorsement.

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