16:34 GMT +322 October 2019
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    In this handout photo released by the Miraflores Presidential Press Office, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro flashes a V for Victory hand gesture after arriving at the Fort Tiuna military base in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

    Maduro Vows to Keep Venezuelan Army Deployed at Colombian Border After Military Drills

    © AP Photo / Marcelo Garcia
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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (572)
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    Large-scale military exercises were held near the Colombian border between 10-28 September. According to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Caracas also deployed air defence systems at its border for the drills, stressing that the country was boosting its forces in the area amid the threat of possible aggression by Colombia.

    Maduro said Monday that the Venezuelan military would remain deployed along the border with neighboring Colombia after the end of the drills in a bid to prevent what he referred to as human and drug trafficking.

    "There is a traffic of drugs, fuel, kidnapping From Colombia... All of these threats has led me (back then) to the decision to ratchet up military exercises", Maduro said Monday.

    The Venezuelan president also stressed that Bogota seeks to wage war against Caracas and he cannot allow an armed group to "enter the territory of Venezuela".

    "We want peace, and we are preparing for it... I am pleased that, after these three weeks of exercises, we are now in the best position in 200 years to defend territory, sovereignty and peace in Venezuela... I told the defence minister when we talked to him that we need to establish peace, permanent drills... So I decided to extend the orange alert and the deployment of the Venezuelan armed forces. No armed group will enter the territory of Venezuela. Venezuela is free from Colombia's violence", the president said.

    Relations between Caracas and Bogota have worsened amid the ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela. In January, an opposition faction sought to overthrow Maduro and install self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido.

    The attempt failed but unrest has continued with Maduro accusing Bogota of being behind the movement to overthrow or assassinate him.

    Colombia has denied the claims. Bogota has, however, alongside other countries, endorsed Guaido as an interim president. China and Russia are among those states that support the constitutionally-elected Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (572)

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    Nicolas Maduro, threat, drills, deployment, troops, Colombia, Venezuela
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