Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ordered this Friday the mobilization of artillery pieces to face an eventual armed combat, amid growing tension between the South American nation and the United States Government.
“In the next few hours I have ordered within the framework of the permanent operation ‘Bolivarian Shield’ the mobilization of artillery pieces, to be prepared for the fight for peace,” the president said in a work event broadcast on state television VTV.
“As commander in chief, I am at the forefront of all the preparations for Venezuela to have peace, and to be prepared for any combat that may be necessary. I know what I am saying, Venezuela,” the president continued without offering further details.
Maduro’s announcement comes amid growing tension between Venezuela and the United States, which this week proposed a transitional government to tackle the crisis in the Caribbean country.
The plan, announced Tuesday by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calls for Maduro to depart from power, which he has held since 2013, and to set up a State Council that controls the Executive until “free elections” are called.
In addition, US President Donald Trump himself announced a day later that he will double the number of military ships on Latin American coasts to fight drug trafficking in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, with special attention to Mexico and Venezuela.
The United States also charged Maduro, and a dozen of his closest collaborators, for alleged drug trafficking and money laundering in late March, allegations that the Venezuelan leader rejected almost immediately.
“I have an obligation to prepare national and international public opinion, and to prepare ourselves,” Maduro insisted tonight when announcing that he will deploy weapons.
Last week, the Venezuelan government reported that it deactivated a coup d’état and accused the head of Parliament, Juan Guaidó, of being behind the attempt.
For these facts, the Venezuelan Prosecutor’s Office opened a new investigation against Guaidó, whom almost 60 countries recognize as interim president, and summoned him to testify, although the opponent did not attend.
Today, Guaidó rejected Maduro deploying weapons on the streets of the country, which is going through its third week of quarantine to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has already claimed the lives of 7 people and 153 others suffer.
“What there is is to be respected and regain the dignity of the people of Venezuela,” said Guaidó, assuring that the Maduro government does not defend the sovereignty of Venezuela against irregular Colombian groups.