MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US Army South Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Stammer will soon arrive in Colombia, local broadcaster Caracol reported, citing military sources.
News about Stammer's possible trip comes amid confusion caused by US National Security Adviser John Bolton about the United States' plans with regard to Colombia. During a 28 January briefing about new sanctions against Venezuela that would target state-owned oil and gas company PDVSA, Bolton was photographed holding a yellow notepad that read: "5,000 troops to Colombia".
According to the broadcaster, the purpose of the general's visit is to strengthen friendly relations with Colombia. The general will meet with the command of the Colombian army and police and discuss border security with them.
The US Southern Command, of which Army South is a component, was established to conduct operations in Latin America. It is responsible for 31 states and 15 territories in Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
The Colombian Foreign Ministry later said that it did not know why such a note appeared on Bolton’s notebook. US President Donald Trump did hint at the possibility of US military intervention in Venezuela back in 2017, and Bolton confirmed on Monday that "all options are on the table" in regard to Venezuela. However, the Colombian Defence Ministry told Sputnik that the country's government did not plan to provide the United States with military bases to invade Venezuela.
On 21 January, mass protests started across Venezuela and lasted for several days. Two days after, head of the parliament Juan Guaido declared himself the country's interim president. Incumbent leader Nicolas Maduro has claimed that Washington has been orchestrating an anti-government coup in the country. Russia has stressed that it supported Maduro as the legitimate president.
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