Venezuela’s armed forces have engaged in violent clashes with armed criminal groups along its border with Colombia. The criminal groups’ sustained and indiscriminate attacks in the porous borderland have forcibly displaced thousands, according to Infobae, an Argentine outlet that leans slightly left and features excellent reporting from around the Americas. Dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), had previously sought refuge in Venezuela, at the invitation of President Nicolás Maduro, the article notes.
According to Semana, one of Colombia’s leading weeklies, generally viewed as center or center-left politically, the Venezuelan Army is selectively clearing out armed criminal groups; both the pattern and location of the armed force’s operations indicate a preference for one faction of the FARC, headed by Colombian fugitives Jesús Santrich and Iván Márquez, over a competing faction led by Miguel Botache Santillana. For many years, Venezuela’s armed forces have been accused of involvement with irregular armed groups and participation in a range of organized criminal activity. This development serves as further confirmation of the institution’s enduring criminal ties, and their involvement in drug trafficking and other lucrative illicit economies ensures their loyalty to Maduro and is a major factor contributing to regime stability.
The Venezuelan army is clearing certain territories to eliminate adversaries to the faction led by Jesús Santrich and Iván Márquez, with whom President Nicolás Maduro has shown some sympathy. In this sense, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) are not fighting in the same way all the residual groups of the old FARC guerrilla.
Source: “Enfrentamiento en la frontera: ¿El ejército venezolano solamente combate ciertas disidencias de las FARC? (Confrontation on the border: Does the Venezuelan army only fight certain dissidents of the FARC?),” Semana (one of Colombia’s leading weeklies, generally viewed as center or center-left politically), 22 March 2021. https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/enfrentamiento-en-la-frontera-el-ejercito-venezolanosolamente-
The fighting this Sunday between the Venezuelan army and the illegal armed groups was concentrated in the camps led by aliases ‘Arturo’ and ‘Farley,’ for which some sectors have denounced that the armed forces have focused on fighting only some dissidents of the FARC. The Venezuelan army is clearing certain territories to eliminate adversaries to the faction led by Jesús Santrich and Iván Márquez, with whom President Nicolás Maduro has shown some sympathy. In this sense, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) is not fighting in the same way all the residual groups of the old FARC guerrilla.
Source: “Qué hay detrás de los ataques del régimen de Nicolás Maduro contra guerrilleros en la frontera entre Venezuela y Colombia (What is behind the attacks by the Nicolás Maduro regime against guerrillas on the border between Venezuela and Colombia),” Infobae (an Argentine outlet that leans slightly left politically with excellent reporting from around the Americas), 22 March 2021. https://www.infobae.com/america/venezuela/2021/03/22/que-hay-detras-de-los-ataques-del-regimen-de-nicolas-maduro-contra-guerrilleros-en-la-frontera-entre-venezuela-y-colombia/
In what could be the most perverse use of the Venezuelan soldiers… led by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López and operational strategic commander Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, it is not fighting the entire guerrilla, but only the FARC dissidents that did not want to subordinate themselves to Jesús Santrich.