Soldiers loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro trained fighters from the “most dangerous guerrilla force” in South America to use heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles, Bloomberg reported, citing Colombian General Luis Navarro.
According to him, soldiers of the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) were trained to launch a Russia-made surface-to-air missile system.
Navarro was quoted as claiming that the ELN was trained secretly rather than at Venezuelan army bases, while Bloomberg alleged that the “guerrilla force” has long used the Latin American country as a refuge.
“These are weapons used by the Venezuelan armed forces. We have the clear evidence and the necessary intelligence to affirm that the ELN is considered as part of the defence of the revolution of the Maduro regime”, Bloomberg cited him as saying.
The Maduro government has yet to comment on these reports.
Earlier in the day, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza accused the CIA of working with the country’s opposition to oust Maduro and get hold of the country’s natural resources. He also told reporters that Caracas would retaliate if the US opts for military action to oust the legitimately elected president.
Maduro has on a multitude of occasions reassured the people of Venezuela that the country’s armed forces remain loyal to him despite Guaido’s calls to join his so-called Operation Freedom.
Venezuela plunged into chaos in January after Guaido declared himself interim president in defiance of Maduro, who was sworn in for a second term on 10 January.
The opposition leader’s move was instantly recognised by the United States, a handful of regional countries, and, subsequently, dozens of nations around the world.
Maduro, who is recognised as Venezuela’s only legitimate president by numerous countries, including Russia, Iran, Turkey, and China, has blasted Guaido as a US “puppet” and denounced the entire situation as a coup attempt organised by Washington.