As has been reported, since the week beginning Sunday 21st March, the Operational Strategic Command of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela has been carrying out offensives against irregular Colombian armed groups in the state of Apure as part of Operation Escudo Bolivariano 2021. In light of this, and at the time of writing, the statistics are as follows: six (06) terrorists neutralised; twenty-seven (27) suspects put before the Tribunal Militar 14 de Control (Military Control Tribunal 14), with a further twelve (12) detained yesterday, 28th March; and the confiscation of weapons, grenades, ammunition, explosive devices, military uniforms, vehicles, drugs and technological equipment with information relating to the groups’ activities.
It is imperative to remind the international community that the groups mentioned above rely on the support of the Colombian government and the CIA. For this reason, their incursions into Venezuelan territory must be seen as an act of aggression sponsored by Iván Duque, as he provides them with financial and logistical support, thereby creating a criminal corridor along the border, with the U.S. Southern Command playing an advisory role. Meanwhile, it is not a mere coincidence that these events coincide with the recent creation of an elite special operations unit.
Relying on all this support, these criminal gangs devote themselves to drug-trafficking extorsion, kidnapping, people trafficking, sexual abuse of young girls and teenagers, and contraband and illegal mining, among other crimes. In addition to this, they place civilians in danger by attacking public institutions such as CORPOELEC, SENIAT and PDVSA (translator’s note: Venezuelan corporations for state power, customs and duties, and oil and natural gas respectively), also employing the extremist tactic of deploying anti-personnel mines in the areas they have attempted to illegally occupy.
Such vile delinquents overwhelm residents with psychological terror. To achieve this, they use WhatsApp and other social networks to forcefully bring about mobilisations of defenceless people whom they then use as human shields behind which to flee to Colombia, where they do not face persecution. [This violent situation affecting our states that share a border with the Neo-Granadian nation [Colombia, Transl. Note] is the result of the complete abandonment of its borders for decades by the authorities of that country. It is a country that suffers the consequences of an armed conflict whose origins lie in social inequality, injustice and the blind exercising of power by a corrupted oligarchy that is subordinated to imperial diktats.
Given the circumstances, according to what was established by the Magna Carta and following the precise orders of the Venezuelan citizen Nicolás Maduro Moros, the constitutional president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, our commander-in-chief, the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela has taken the necessary steps to eradicate the threat represented by these criminal organisations that prejudice the wellbeing and the quality of life of Venezuelan citizens. In this respect, we have proceeded with surgical precision, destroying the temporary encampments of the irregular groups situated outside populated areas.
Consequently, we emphatically reject the distortions in the media by the Colombian government, which aims to transfer its manifest inability to resolve its own problems to us. Equally, we refute the biased information stemming from various NGOs as much as the politicisation of these objectionable events.
At the time of writing, military units, together with the support of the state security apparatus, continue to perform intelligence, surveillance and pursuit activities. The escort of different entities belonging to the national and regional executives to ensure the provision of food, medical attention, basic services, fuel and especially the peace of mind of residents is also currently ongoing. It should be noted that the Ministerio Público (Public Prosecutor) and the Defensoría del Pueblo (Ombudsman’s office) have taken up a central role in these operations with the aim of guaranteeing the highest degree of transparency and the utmost respect for human rights.
We reiterate our unbreakable determination to expel any groups operating outside the law from the national territory, and we express our unconditional solidarity with the Venezuelan people, with the irreducible compromise to be the guardians of their peace, their freedom, their sovereignty and their independence.
Chávez lives on… The Homeland continues!
An independent and socialist Homeland… We will live, and we will conquer!
Independence or nothing!
Loyal forever… Never traitors!
The Venezuelan sun rises in Essequibo*!
Caracas, 27th March 2021
VLADIMIR PADRINO LÓPEZ
*Guayana Esequiba (sometimes called Essequibo), is a disputed territory of about 160,000 km2 west of the Essequibo River that has been claimed by Venezuela for nearly two centuries. It has previously been fought over by Spanish, Dutch and British colonial administrations during the course of the last few centuries. Since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, Guyana controls the territory.