Thousands of troops and civilians have held joint exercises across Venezuela on the second and final day of a mobilization called Bolivarian Sovereignty 2017.
The government said the exercises were intended to show that Venezuela wants peace, but that the people and the Venezuelan Armed Forces, or FANB, are united and prepared to face any aggression. They were called after the U.S. president, Donald Trump, said on Aug. 11 that he was ready to consider "a military option" against the Venezuelan government.
In the central state of Cojedes, soldiers accompanied by armed vehicles and airforce fighter jets "repulsed" a simulated attack. Members of the civilian militia drawn from local communities carried out support tasks for paratroopers.
Also on the second day of the exercises, the Armed Forces' logistical units carried out joint operations with local community food committees, known as CLAPs. The aim was to develop mechanisms that would ensure food supplies to Venezuelan troops and civilians in the event of any military aggression.
The government says over 900,000 people, including troops and civilians, took part in the two days of maneuvers.
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said the mobilization of the Venezuelan people had been impressive. "This gives a positive signal of our people's capacity to respond," he said.
“The American empire responds to Venezuelan democracy with greater aggression,” Lopez said, alluding to new Washington-imposed sanctions against Venezuela on Friday.
“We must understand the broad concept of what sovereignty is, the capacity of a state, a nation and its government to make their own decisions. This country will follow the course that Venezuelans themselves decide upon,” he added, slamming U.S. attempts to interfere in the country’s affairs.
The nationwide exercises included ground excursions, combat readiness, mobilization and weapons training.