Threats by Colombian President against Maduro Five Days Before the Assassination Attempt

August 5, 2018.

On July 30, 2018, just five days before the assassination attempt with drones loaded with explosives was carried out against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at an event of the Bolivarian National Guard, Colombia’s outgoing president, Juan Manuel Santos, publicly assured everyone that he “saw it as being close” the fall of Maduro’s “regime” in Venezuela. “I see it coming. A country with the inflation that Venezuela has (…) that regime has to crumble,” the outgoing president said on Monday in an interview with the AFP agency at the Colombian government headquarters. This is just one of many occasions in which the Colombian president has openly confessed his intentions to intervene in Venezuelan affairs and to help bring about a change of government in the country.

Eight days before leaving power in the hands of Ivan Duque, also a fierce rival of Maduro, Santos said in the interview that he believes that “the best thing” that could happen to Venezuela and Colombia is that “Maduro falls”, hopefully in a “peaceful way”.

“I wish that tomorrow” the Maduro government would end, Santos told AFP on July 30, and “Colombia would be more than willing and ready to “help” in any way possible.

Santos has maintained, in his last days in the presidency of Colombia, a constant campaign against the Venezuelan President, making statements almost daily against him. On 22 June, in an interview with the EFE agency, Santos said, “Without a doubt, Maduro’s exit is a necessary condition for a change of regime and for the return of democracy to the Venezuelans,” answering a question about whether Maduro’s exit is indispensable to resolve the crisis in Venezuela.

“The Maduro regime is going to collapse,” Santos said at an event in Madrid in May 2018. On August 2, when presenting a decree to regularize the immigration status of 440,000 Venezuelans in Colombia, Santos also said: “I want to reiterate our condemnation of the actions of the Venezuelan regime that has generated this humanitarian crisis (…) is a regime that does not listen and seems to be in a state of total denial.”

Although there has been some pauses, both Juan Manuel Santos and his predecessor, Álvaro Uribe Velez, have been characterized as open cooperators with the U.S. government in their intentions to overthrow the governments of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. And the U.S. government has not hidden the fact that it is using Colombia’s help to attack Venezuela.

A year ago, Mike Pompeo, then director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), told the Aspen Security Forum that he was cooperating with the Colombian and Mexican governments to get the Maduro government out of office.

“When you have a country as large, with an economic capacity like Venezuela’s, the United States has a deep interest in making sure it is as stable and democratic as possible (…) I have to be very careful what I say, but we are very hopeful that there may be a transition in Venezuela and we, the CIA, are doing our best to understand the dynamics there, to communicate it to our State Department and others. I was just in Mexico City and Bogotá last week and I was talking with the Colombians about this issue, trying to help them understand the things they could do to get a better result in their part of the world and in our part of the world.”

Shortly thereafter, in March 2018, Pompeo was appointed by Donald Trump as Secretary of State.

Colombia, in the hands of Juan Manuel Santos, also joined the warlike North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a global partner, an action widely criticized throughout the world.

The Colombian government has also played a major role in the so-called “Lima Group”, a coalition of 12 countries that, from the Organization of American States, has tried to apply the Democratic Charter to Venezuela and achieve different political and trade sanctions against the country, including denying the sale of food and medicines, while promoting a so-called “humanitarian corridor”, which is rejected by the Venezuelan government because it is seen as a covert way to introduce foreign troops into the country and initiate military intervention.

In view of these and many other statements by the outgoing president of Colombia, it is not surprising that Maduro, just hours after the attack on August 4, declared, “They tried to assassinate me today, and I have no doubt that everything points to the Venezuelan far right in alliance with the Colombian far right, and that the name of Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack, I have no doubt! It is the murderous wrath of the Colombian oligarchy. The first elements of the investigation point to Bogotá. That’s why they were making dramatic announcements about the end of Maduro and the end of the regime,”

“Juan Manuel Santos hands over the presidency on August 7 and you can’t leave without joking about Venezuela, without hurting it, wishing for a bad thing to happen for Venezuela,” added Maduro, who asked the Bolivarian National Armed Force, intelligence and counterintelligence to be on high alert.

In response, the Colombian Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement emphatically rejecting the accusations.

President Maduro also warned in February and June of this year that there is a possibility of military aggression from Colombia, as well as the possibility of simulating an attack from the neighboring country to disrupt the peace and provoke an armed conflict, which is why he has issued the order to be on high alert.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation by North America bureau.