Maduro held a military parade today to commemorate the 188th anniversary of the death of Simon Bolivar. The parade centered around the Milicia Nacional Bolivariana [National Bolivarian Militia], the National Bolivarian Armed Forces’ militia branch.
As is typical during his speeches, Maduro covered a broad set of topics and made several vague announcements, including one that sounded threateningly like an invasion. During the speech, Maduro told the soldiers present to “prepare themselves” to conduct an operation “to rip out the hearts of our enemies in their own territory”, but gave no further details.
On the matter of national defense, Maduro said:
Whoever is taking notes in Bogota or Washington, take note. It might be that an invasion force will enter through some corner of our homeland, but they won’t get out alive because the people will find them. [The people] will defend their right to peace, independence, and the sovereignty of our beloved armed and sacred Venezuela with their lives. That’s what I’m saying. I’m warning you.
With his usual bluster, Maduro also said:
I’m going to defend the republic against imperialists [and] oligarchs, whether they come from Bogota or Brasilia, and from traitors who sell their souls for a fistful of dollars. The people will triumph here!
The image below shows Maduro on the stage (right) before the militia:
The [Militia] is ready to defend and expel, [sic] any foreign force that tries to touch even one leaf of our land. We will defend ourselves against imperialists, oligarchs and traitors, no mater where they come from. They won’t be able to handle us!
Former AG Ortega Diaz Speaks to Military in Alleged Leaked Video
Former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz appeared in an alleged video shared on Twitter today by a Venezuelan journalist named Idania Chirinos.
According to Chirinos, the message was meant to be seen only by Ortega Diaz’s military contacts. It is not clear how the message leaked.
In the message, Ortega Diaz speaks directly to members of Venezuela’s military, and calls on them to rebel against the Maduro regime. Below, the message along with my translation:
Luis Ortega Diaz: Today, December 17, 2018, I send a message to the honest women and men of the Venezuelan Armed Forces. I’m speaking to you, Venezuelan solider. The time to make the most important decision, in these crucial hour for our homeland, approaches. This is the opportunity to side with the people, and to restablish democracy. You can be sure that you have every guarantee to act, and to return liberty to our citizens. No more should a small number of generals submit us to the greatest calamities, their sole objective being to maintain their criminal business interests.
Those who act will be rewarded and recognized by the country, by all Venezuelans, and by history. You will be the protagonists in a new Venezuela, [a Venezuela of] opportunities, well-being, and happiness that we will all build. The country is counting on you.
Ortega Diaz was a loyal attorney general to Hugo Chavez, and later temporarily under Maduro, from 2007 to 2017. Last year, she began to speak openly against the regime’s brutal repression of dissent in March of last year. Ortega Diaz’s new stance quickly launched her to the top of the regime’s list of enemies, and she was forced out of her office in August of last year. After a few days on the run, Ortega Diaz escaped the country in a speedboat via Aruba.
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