Speaking during a televised address this afternoon, Maduro announced the creation of a an anti-terrorism task force that he called the Cuerpo Nacional Especial Contra el Terrorismo [Special National Anti-Terrorism Agency], which he said will focus on preventing terrorist violence generated “from the governments of Colombia and the United States”.
Maduro said that the agency would seek to dismantle terrorist cells operating in the country that he claims are “financed from Colombia under orders from Washington”, and placed Major General Hernan Gil Barrios at its helm. Without naming them or providing any evidence of their existence, Maduro said that these groups are working to “sow discord and disturb peace and security” in Venezuela, and that the agency would operate within a security framework that is scheduled to run into 2022.
Maduro often refers to the Venezuelan opposition writ large as terrorists, and in particular opposition leader Juan Guaido and his party, Voluntad Popular (VP), raising fears that the taskforce could be used to crack down on political dissenters.
Maduro Says Coronavirus “Could Be” Biological Weapon
During the same address, Maduro said that there are “lots of analysis” that suggest that the novel coronavirus currently spreading throughout the world “could be” a biological weapon unleashed “to attack China”. Without providing any context or evidence, Maduro said:
We already have a plan to face this attack. There are lots of analysis from around the world that demonstrate that the coronavirus could a strain that was created to wage biological warfare against China. There are lots of elements in the global analysis [sic], so we have to raise our voices and raise the alarm. Alert! The coronavirus could be a biological weapon that is being used against China and now against the people of the world in general. Alert!
There is no evidence outside of fringe conspiracy theorist circles to suggest that the novel coronavirus is a biological weapon.
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