Colombian president Ivan Duque will meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Cartagena to, among other issues, discuss the ongoing Venezuelan crisis. The meeting will take place on January 2.

According to Caracol Radio, Duque and Pompeo will discuss “strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries”. On the topic of Venezuela, Duque said:

[Pompeo shares] the same worries that several Latin American countries have about the dictatorship in Venezuela, the humanitarian crisis and the migration crisis.

Maduro Orders “Doubling” of Army Presence Along Colombia Border

Maduro also announced today in a televised address that he is ordering the “doubling of operational efforts” by the Venezuelan army along the border with Colombia. Maduro claims that the measure is necessary “to combat the violence that is coming from there”.

He made the announcement by saying:

I’ve given direct orders to the commanders of the Army, the National Bolivarian Guard, and the REDIs [Strategic Defense Regions, a kind of military district] to double their operational efforts at every level of strength because we have to strengthen the border with Colombia and fight the violence and crime that is coming from there and guarantee peace and tranquility in Venezuela along the border with Colombia [sic].

Colombia plays a prominent role in the Maduro regime’s cosmology, as it is often blamed for virtually every ill affecting the country. Maduro has long used Colombia has a scapegoat for everything from the poor state of the economy to power outages.

During the same event, Maduro said that Bogota and Washington, D.C. were plotting to “weaken” the Venezuelan army, and stressed the importance of being vigilance against foreign intervention. He said:

We cannot allow Venezuela to be intervened, or that it won’t have a people or an army to defend her….

At the time, Maduro claimed that the foreign attempts he says are underway to weaken the army have and will continue to fail. He explained:

I ratify as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that our National Bolivarian Armed Forces can be neither bought nor weakened by anyone.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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