Bogota, May 3 (efe-epa).- The Colombian government on Sunday rejected as “unfounded” and “speculative” the accusations of Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro government, which claimed that mercenaries traveling from the neighboring country had tried to invade Venezuela by sea.
“It’s an unfounded accusation that attempts to involve the Colombian government in a speculative plot,” the Colombian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to Bogota, the claims of the “dictatorial regime of Nicolas Maduro” blaming Colombia for the “alleged acts of destabilization” are just another attempt “to divert attention from the true problems being experienced by the Venezuelan people.”
Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol had reported earlier on Sunday that “terrorist mercenaries” coming from Colombia had tried to invade Venezuela by sea in La Guaira state near Caracas, but local security forces had foiled the attack.
The alleged invaders were planning, Reverol said, to carry out terrorist acts, assassinate “leaders of the revolutionary government, increase the spiral of violence, create chaos and confusion in the population thereby resulting in a new attempted coup d’etat.”
The Colombian Foreign Ministry, however, said that “Colombia rejects the declarations of … Reverol regarding an alleged attempt (to invade) by a group of terrorist mercenaries coming from Colombia, who tried to enter (Venezuela) in fastboats … at a point located more than 490 kilometers (about 305 miles) from Colombia’s closest coastal point.”
Reverol’s accusations were repeated later in the day by Constituent National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello, who said that eight of the invaders were killed and two captured.
Colombia went on to say that the accusations are part of “the regular strategy of that illegitimate regime to seek arguments and foreign distractions at times of internal crisis,” and Bogota called on the international community to “reject these kinds of accusations and be aware of the repeated attempts by the dictator Maduro to get us involved in false versions about alleged acts of force.”
The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since Feb. 23, 2019, when Maduro broke off ties after the failed attempt by opposition leader Juan Guaido to lead a humanitarian aid caravan from the Colombian border city of Cucuta into Venezuela.