The United States intelligence activities have increased by 800% at Venezuela's borders while international media has focused on the "scandal" of Venezuelan and Russian military cooperation, Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said Friday.
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"No scandal is heard... when U.S. planes land in Cucuta [Colombia] or when the U.S. Air Force electronic signals surveillance around our territory have increased by 800%," Padrino said and stressed that "when Venezuela’s sovereignty is about to be violated, nobody says anything!"
The remarks come weeks after U.S. planes were sighted at a military air base near Bogota. A U.S. Army EO-5C reconnaissance aircraft, a specialized airplane used to intercept communications, was also detected.
Previously, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela Elliot Abrams affirmed that "Russia will pay" for its support to Maduro.
The U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton also warned that the Russian military presence in Venezuela amounts to a "provocative action," which the U.S. considers as a "direct threat to peace."
Accordingly, Bolton also urged Padrino Lopez to "do the right thing" and overturn the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) against President Nicolas Maduro.
"I have the fullest conviction that we will be stronger than ever in the battle that is now being presented to us. We will defeat aggressions with the force steeming from the anti-imperialist spirit of Comandante Chavez. The fate of just causes will always be victory!" Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro tweeted.
"Mr. John Bolton has sent me messages asking me to do the right thing and I say: we are doing the right thing, what is established in the Constitution," Minister Padrino Lopez indicated and added that his job is to "respect and protect the People’s will and support the legitimate and legally constituted authorities."
Meanwhile, several civilian-military maneuvers were carried out across the country by the Venezuelan Peace Squadrons (“cuadrillas de paz"), popular organizations which are aimed at protecting the security of communities, workspaces, study centers, water, electricity and other public services.
Popular participation in homeland security is one of the ways through which President Nicolas Maduro's administration is taking preventive measures to counteract the destabilizing actions of the U.S. backed Venezuelan opposition.