The Venezuelan dictatorship has caused a geopolitical mess in recent weeks amidst the lockdown and a crisis accentuated by the pandemic. First, it declared that it had foiled Operation Gideon, an attempted coup d’état, supposedly forged with the help of Colombian authorities, and this week, it announced a case of espionage in the Colombian army.
On Monday, May 18, the Minister of Communications of the Venezuelan dictatorship, Jorge Rodríguez, claimed that the regime had “infiltrated agents” within the Colombian Armed Forces. He said, “this is a product of the infiltrations we have within Colombian intelligence, within the intelligence of the Colombian Armed Forces, which allowed us to access many hours of recording of Hernán Alemán and Clíver Alcalá Cordones.”
The minister is referring to Cliver Alcalá, the retired general of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, accused by the DEA of drug trafficking, and opposition deputy Hernán Claret Alemán Perez. Further, Rodríguez also claimed that they had obtained evidence of a failed plan to blow up the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.
Colombian Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo responded quickly. He announced that he would seek out and sanction any person involved and said in his speech, “the mechanisms within the Public Force are permanently in place and will be intensified to identify any possible actions by public or uniformed servants that may be related to dictatorial regimes in the region, which could put national sovereignty or the democratic order of Colombia at risk.”
Although there is no indication of the participation of Colombian officials in the development of Operation Gideon, Jorge Rodríguez’s statements undoubtedly aim to delegitimize Colombia and give the dictatorship an edge on the geopolitical chessboard.
The Chavista minister’s statements come at a time when Colombian military intelligence is under investigation for the infiltration of approximately 130 people. If Caracas’ claims were true, the Colombian state would find itself in a problem of trust with its armed forces.
However, this is not the first time that the Venezuelan dictatorship has accused the Colombian government of devising plans against it. In August of last year, the dictatorship claimed to have foiled several terrorist attacks on Venezuela’s public infrastructure.
The latest crazy claim by Nicolás Maduro was on Thursday when he accused Colombia of sending buses full of infected people to Venezuela to spread the pandemic in Venezuelan territory.
Though the dictatorship’s accusations are not very credible, they have two precise objectives: to divert attention from the regime’s internal failings by creating an external enemy and to delegitimize Colombia internationally.