CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela holding nationwide armed forces regular exercises since Saturday, a general announcement has been made and calling on civilians to join reserve military units to defend Venezuela against the possible attack after U.S. President Donald Trump warned that a “military option” was on the being discussed on his table for the crisis-hit country.
President made the threat fortnight ago and on Friday he signed an order as well which prohibits US dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or even its oil companies, a move to completely put an embargo on financing that Trump says is triggering socialist President Nicolas Maduro’s “dictatorship.”
“Against the belligerent threats of the United States, all Venezuelans between the ages of 18 and 60 are required to contribute to the integral defense of the nation,” said an announcement broadcast last Saturday on national Venezuelan television.
Maduro, in response, used Trump’s threat to try to energize his political fellowship, broadcasting images and footage of rifle-carrying civilians (men, women and children) negotiating obstacle courses and military drills and learning hand-to-hand combating tactics. The government created the hashtag #EsHoraDeDefenderLaPatria, which translates as “It’s Time To Defend The Homeland,” to promote the cause and motivate civilians to partake in exercises.
The recent footage and images on TV showed Venezuelans teens and adults entering military reserve registration centers and participating in exercises. However according to Reuters, there was no evidence surfaced that registration of general public reached far beyond government officials and Maduro’s Socialist Party loyalists.
Some of intense scenes were aired on national t.v. of camouflaged sharp-shooters firing their weapons while military commanders were delivering fiery speeches at “anti-imperialist” rallies. More exercises are scheduled for the week.
The idea had been laughed off as unnecessary and very absurd by the democrats and U.S. officials before Trump said on Aug. 11 that “a military option is certainly something we could pursue” as a way to end Venezuela’s crisis.
Venezuela Army Trains For Possible US Military Action
Venezuela's army has started two days of exercises aimed at deterring possible military intervention by the United States.
Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump warned of a “military option” against Venezuela, as President Nicolas Maduro consolidated his power.
Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman reports from Caracas.