Venezuela government says it foils attempted mercenary 'incursion'
CARACAS (REUTERS) – Venezuela’s government said it foiled a marine incursion on Sunday (May 3) by “terrorist mercenaries”who attempted to enter the country on speedboats from neighbouring Colombia.
President Nicolas Maduro frequently accuses political adversaries of attempting to overthrow his administration with the support of the United States, which has vowed to force him from office through sanctions that have crippled the Opec nation’s oil exports.
Critics of the ruling Socialist Party often dismiss such accusations as stunts used as an excuse to detain opponents of the government.
In a televised address, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said security forces wounded several members of the group and”brought down” others who landed early on Sunday near La Guaira, on the coast about 32km from the capital Caracas.
“They tried to carry out an invasion by sea, a group of terrorist mercenaries from Colombia, in order to commit terrorist acts in the country, murdering leaders of the revolutionary government,” Mr Reverol said.
He did not say how many people were involved, or provide other details.
Mr Maduro has overseen a six-year economic crisis that has left many citizens unable to obtain basic food and medicine and forced nearly five million people to emigrate.
The United States and more than fifty other countries disavowed Mr Maduro after his disputed 2018 election, which they say was rigged, and instead have recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s legitimate interim leader.
But Mr Maduro retains the backing of the country’s armed forces as well as countries including China and Russia, which have harshly criticised the US sanctions.