13:10 GMT19 January 2021
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    The president of Venezuela has also ordered the military to comb its ranks in search of “traitors” over the looming threat of a US military invasion.

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the Armed Forces to prepare to repel a possible US invasion in a Tweet published Wednesday.

    "I have ordered all military branches to be vigilant and be ready to protect the peace, to make any attempt by the North American empire to try anything against our homeland impossible. Peace will be our victory!" he tweeted in Spanish.

    ​The tweet comes as US officials continue to say that "all options" regarding Venezuela are on the table — a phrase particularly favoured by White House National Security Advisor John Bolton.

    The tweet mirrors a similar order Maduro gave in person, during a military rally called the "March of Loyalty" in the northern state of Carabobo, according to a report by El Nacional.

    ​Speaking before the servicemen on Tuesday, the president ordered the military to capture traitors within their ranks.

    "If a traitor emerges, capture him immediately, it's an order: capture him immediately!" Maduro said.

    He also ordered the military to "activate" the "weapon systems [in order] to make any adventure [against Venezuela] impossible for imperialism", El Nacional reports.

    Earlier on 30 April, the Venezuelan opposition led by self-proclaimed "interim president" Juan Guaido, attempted to stage a coup after gathering near the La Carlota military base in Caracas. The coup failed, however, as the military remained loyal to the democratically elected president, Maduro, who won national elections one year ago. Despite that, Guaido continues to call on military personnel to defect.

    In May, Guaido's envoy to Washington Carlos Vecchio sent a letter to the US Southern Command calling for "strategic and operational planning so that we may fulfil our constitutional obligation to the Venezuelan people".

    "Following instructions of Interim President @jguaido, we officially requested the @Southcom a meeting with a technical delegation to advance in strategic and operational planning with the priority goal of stopping our people's suffering and restoring democracy", Vecchio tweeted.

    ​Some observers have already viewed Vecchio's rhetoric as an informal call for military intervention.

    On 20 May, Vecchio met with Pentagon and State Department officials, but details of the meeting have not been disclosed.

    The US and its allies have recognised Guaido as Venezuela's interim leader and called for Maduro to step down. Russia, China, Turkey and a number of other countries have recognised Maduro as the only legitimate president of the Latin American nation.


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    invasion, armed forces, Pentagon, Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, US, Venezuela
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