Venezuela rejects statements by the Colombian Foreing Ministry on FANB operations in the state of Apure

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela firmly rejects the statements made by the Colombian Foreign Ministry today, in which it expresses its alleged concern over the recent operations of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) in the State of Apure, in exercise of the defense of national sovereignty, with the unfortunate result of two Venezuelan troops killed.

It is a proven fact that the Colombian State has abandoned its borders, granting more that tacit consent to the actions of several criminal groups operating in the area. The government of Iván Duque, with the support of the U.S. Southern Command and its recently created elite group of seven thousand troops, has installed a corridor of illegal activities such as human trafficking, illegal exploitation of minerals and drug trafficking, aimed at financing the instrumentalization of these armed groups against Venezuela.

The military operations carried out by the FANB against illegal camps of Colombian armed groups have been carried out in rural areas, and have been aimed at protecting the civilian population from the adverse effects of the illegal activities and the systematic violence of these irregular groups. These operations have the support of the Venezuelan people, who repudiate the different forms of violence derived from more than seventy years of Colombian war, while recognizing the caution with which the military leadership is carrying out the operations, guaranteeing human rights and, above all, the lives of the population.

The events that took place in the vicinity of the town of La Victoria show that these Colombian armed groups act against civilian population, attacking facilities of the electricity service, the tax authority and the state oil company, also using terrorist methods such as the planting of antipersonnel mines, for the dismantling of which Venezuela will request the specialized support of the United Nations.

Having been defeated, these armed groups have used the population as a human shield to flee to Colombia, where they are not persecuted because they are tolerated and protected by the Colombian authorities.

By reiterating its absolute support to its Bolivarian National Armed Forces and the civilian authorities of the region, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will effectively guarantee peace within the national territory and ratifies that any attempt to violate the territorial integrity of Venezuela, whether conventional or covert, by any armed organization, whether regular or irregular, will be met with a forceful reaction.

Caracas, March 24th, 2021