Colombia’s El Tiempo has published an interview with general Alberto Jose Mejia, the head of the Military Forces of Colombia (MFC) in which he speaks of the country’s struggle against guerrillas and on Venezuela’s role in the conflict. Mejia told El Tiempo that the country’s military is still “a long time” away from declaring victory over the guerrillas that have dominated Colombia’s social and political landscape for decades.
When asked by the newspaper what the military’s main focus at the time was, Mejia singled out the Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional [National Liberation Army] (ELN), and said that the organization’s leadership was hiding inside Venezuela.
The ELN is the priority, even though its command-and-control structure is in Venezuela.
When asked by the newspaper how the Colombian military could target the ELN leadership if it was not in Colombia, Mejia said that while he could not provide any names, there were leadership and “front-line commanders” left in Colombia.
The border between Colombia and Venezuela is porous, and much of it is mountainous and heavily forested. The features of the terrain, combined with the generalized lawlessness and corruption that characterize the Venezuelan military forces, make it relatively easy for Colombian guerrillas to slip into Venezuela when needed.
Colombia has long maintained that the Maduro regime harbours ELN members. The influence of the ELN has been reported as far away as Guayana state, where the group is said to charge rent to some gold miners in the region.
Residents Block Bridge in Caracas Demanding Water Service
Residents of the El Paraiso neighbourhood of Caracas blocked the 9 de diciembre bridge that connects the area to north side of Caracas to protest against failures in the water system.
In the video below, a group of protesters near the bridge shout “Caracas quiere agua!” [Caracas wants water!”]:
Jesus Armas, who is a Caracas city councilor, also shared the image below yesterday showing three women filling up containers of water from a hose:
This is who residents of Santa Eduvigis in the Santa Rosalia parish have to get water #CaracasWantsWater
Bolivar Soberano Roll-out Delayed Yet Again
The roll-out of the Bolivar Soberano–the new currency that is supposed to replace the Bolivar Fuerte, which is currently in use–has been delayed for a second time, after the country’s banks convinced the Maduro regime that they needed more time to accommodate the measure.
When Maduro first announced the Bolivar Soberano on March 22 of this year, he drew skepticism and even ridicule after he guaranteed that the new bills and coins would begin circulating on June 4. The deadline gave the country’s banks and businesses a mere two and a half months to make all of the necessary adjustments.
On May 29, just a few days away from the supposed day of implementation, Maduro announced that he was pushing back the date of the deployment to August 4 to give the country more time to prepare.
It is not clear what the new deadline is.
Citing a Bloomberg report, El Nacional claims that “sources familiar with the matter” told the business publication that one of the reasons why the roll-out is being delayed is because the country’s inflation rate–which reaches the triple-digits on a monthly basis–necessitate more and more of the new bills.
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