A new media and political attack regarding the events in Apure state was launched by the fugitive from Venezuelan justice Leopoldo López. He stated that the military action of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) against Colombian narco-paramilitary gangs on the border with Colombia “does not have as its objective the defense of the Venezuelan territory—as established in Article 15 of Venezuelan Magna Carta—but that of participating in a conflict between narco-guerrillas,” an accusation that aligns with those of certain Colombian authorities, in favor of their anti-Venezuelan and pro-US interests.
These statements are added to the media campaign that, with manipulations and falsehoods, accuses the FANB of indiscriminate acts against civilians, including purported arbitrary detentions.
The Popular Will party politician, who fled to Spain and is currently living in the expensive Madrid barrio of Salamanca in a luxury condo, assures that actions “disproportionate[ly] against defenseless civilians” are taking place. In this sense, López, echoes a narrative that Colombian authorities have tried to implant within Venezuela, to try to create anxiety and destabilization. However, the evidence shows otherwise and the Venezuelan State has made it known.
En Apure y la frontera con Colombia se está llevando a cabo una acción militar y policial desproporcionada contra civiles indefensos.
Una vez más el régimen aplasta a miles de familias inocentes. Una vez más, es el pueblo quien sufre las consecuencias de una minoría criminal.
— Leopoldo López (@leopoldolopez) April 13, 2021
The Colombian ombudsman, Carlos Camargo, admitted that the situation of displaced Venezuelan families, staying in a shelter in the municipality of Arauquita, is a consequence of the action of Colombian paramilitary groups in Apure attempting to enter into Venezuela to establish criminal networks typical of the war, now lasting more than 60 years, in which Colombia is embroiled.
#URGENTE | Defensoría del Pueblo de Colombia admite que los habitantes de La victoria estado #Apure fueron desplazados a causa del amedrentamiento de los grupos irregulares colombianos que incursionaron al territorio venezolano. pic.twitter.com/YV5TVOsgQR
— REDRADIOVE (@RedRadioVe) March 26, 2021
FANB responds to López
Faced with López’s allegations, the Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López responded forcefully, assuring that the right-wing politician is part of the same group of elitist right wingers who used violence to overthrow President Hugo Chávez in 2002, and who abused the sovereign will of the Venezuelan people who elected Chávez as president. “And thus they intend to command the ‘hurricane of dignity’ of the Bolivarian National Armed Force. They are the same as they were 19 years ago,” he wrote, referring to the failed 2002 coup d’état against Hugo Chávez, led by Leopoldo López and a group of right-wing politicians.
Y así pretenden comandar el huracán de dignidad de la Fuerza Armada Nacional BOLIVARIANA… Son los mismos de hace 19 años. https://t.co/OrPJ8ZTvUZ
— Vladimir Padrino L. (@vladimirpadrino) April 14, 2021
Likewise, the head of the Operational Strategic Command (CEOFANB), Remigio Ceballos, said: “They stopped being politicians to become stateless terrorist criminals, fugitives from Venezuelan justice, who loathe the glorious FANB. The soldiers of Venezuela who defend the People from any threat are the same FANB that you attacked with hypocritical guarimbas.” Ceballos referred to the excessive violence that López provoked and encouraged in 2014, the guarimbas, that threatened the peace of Venezuela for more than five months, and which outraged thousands of Venezuelans. López was also directly linked to Operation Gideon, that sought to overthrow the government with an armed incursion in May 2020.
Dejaron de ser políticos para convertirse en delincuentes terroristas prófugos de la justicia venezolana apátridas q odian a la gloriosa FANB. Los soldados y soldadas de Venezuela defendemos al Pueblo de toda amenaza es la misma FANB que ustedes atacaron con guarimbas hipócritas https://t.co/P7j7I1urjS
— A/J REMIGIO CEBALLOS (@CeballosIchaso) April 14, 2021
Featured image: Milla de Oro, the building in the Madrid neighborhood of Salamanca where the Venezuelan extreme-right fugitive is living the life of the rich and famous. Photo courtesy of Lechuginos.com.
(RedRadioVE) by Daniela Jiménez with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune