A group of rebels who raided a pair of military installations in Bolivar state on December 22, is allegedly claiming that Venezuelan military units have entered Brazil in their pursuit. The allegation comes from a journalist named Glorimar Fernandez, who said in a Twitter thread that she heard a voice message from one of the rebels announcing the incursion into Brazil.
According to Fernandez, the rebel–a military officer named Jose Rodriguez Araya–says in the audio message that “Venezuelan soldiers are violation Brazilian territory” to look for him and his group of rebels, and that the incursion took place in the Mato Grosso area of northern Brazil. According to Fernandez Araya said:
Last night, we were near the town of Mato Grosso in Brazil, [and] we were being chased by the Venezuelan army, which entered Brazil with rifles and night vision goggles.
They [the Venezuelan soldiers] were in Brazil for about four hours, from 11:30 PM til 3:00 PM. They were shooting at us with sniper rifles.
Fernandez has not made the audio message available (EDIT: The audio message is available via El Pitazo)
A search of mapping services for a town called “Mato Grosso” in Brazil near the border with Venezuela did not provide any results. There is a state called “Mato Grosso” in Brazil, located in the south of the country bordering Bolivia, some 1,500 kilometers from the Venezuelan border.
It is not clear how many rebels escaped the Venezuelan authorities on December 22.
Pope Prays for Venezuela in Christmas Address
Pope Francis mentioned Venezuela in his yearly Christmas address at St. Peter’s Square.
During the address, the pontiff spoke about the fact that Latin America has had an “agitated” 2019. He singled out Venezuela, and prayed for its citizens to continue to have “hope” for the future. Pope Francis said:
[I pray that God] give new hope to the people of Venezuela, who have been long-tested by political and social tensions, and that they not lack the help that they need.
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