The Colombian military scoffed at the idea that it is eyeing an invasion of its neighbor Venezuela as “ridiculous.” Colombia’s head of their military forces said on Tuesday to the border area visit.
The border between the two countries is wide open and the dire situation of the Venezuelan people is putting a strain on Colombia as thousands of Venezuelans stream across the border trying to get away from a country of the verge of collapse. But short of tightening the border areas, an invasion, Colombia says is out of the question.
Colombia’s General Alberto Jose Mejia, visiting the border town of Cucuta that has seen heavy inflows of migrants from Venezuela in recent months, dismissed the comments.
“Just thinking about that possibility is ridiculous,” Mejia told reporters. He walked down the Simon Bolivar bridge linking the two countries and greeted Venezuelan migrants.
U.S. President Donald Trump last year threatened military intervention in Venezuela, but Latin American countries have strongly opposed the idea of any such action. Venezuela’s government has seized on the threat as evidence that Washington, its ideological foe, is seeking to overthrow leftist President Nicolas Maduro.
“In Colombia, they are planning nothing less than an era of bygone times that had ended in bombings, invasions or the occupation, through blood and fire, of a peaceful country like Venezuela,” said Venezuela’s chief prosecutor, Tarek William Saab, said in a statement. “We will not allow it.”
Leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales called the fact that a US Navy Admiral visited Colombia over the weekend “suspicious.”
“Any imperialist military threat against our sister Venezuela, and our region will be undone by the dignity, sovereignty, and unity of our democratic countries,” Morales tweeted, never one to shy away from taking a shot at the U.S.
Morales was speaking of the visit by US Navy Admiral Kurt Tidd over the weekend in the Colombian town of Tumaco in the tense border area. Tidd, the commander of US Southern Command was there to discuss counter-narcotics initiatives with Colombian officials. This was more of a deflection effort by the Venezuelans as their country is about to collapse from within.
Last week, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos did say that Colombia is about to enact stricter control along the border area. They will deploy thousands of security personnel along the border region and limit the entry for Venezuelans. But war footing? Hardly.
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Photo courtesy: US Embassy Bogota