On December 28th, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro asked Brazil to hand over five military officers suspected of being part of a recent attack on a military outpost in Southern Venezuela.
So far, Venezuelan authorities have arrested 11 suspects, according to Reuters.
The ones the Venezuelan government requests are 5 officers that had fled to Brazil.
Authorities accused Brazil, Colombia and Peru of complicity with the attack, in which one Venezuelan soldier was killed.
Venezuela’s defense minister said that “extremist opposition sectors” attacked a military outpost near the border with Brazil in the early hours of December 22nd.
Reitero mi felicitación y la orden de ascenso y condecoración al personal militar del estado Bolívar, quienes salieron en persecución inmediata, capturando a los 11 terroristas que atacaron nuestra unidad militar. Soldados de la FANB: ¡Al Combate Contra el Terrorismo! pic.twitter.com/ix94w18Jov
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) December 29, 2019
“I reiterate my congratulations and the order of promotion and decoration to the military personnel of the Bolivar state, who went out in immediate persecution, capturing the 11 terrorists who attacked our military unit.“
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, meanwhile, accused Peruvian authorities had allowed the attackers to organize. Colombia, Brazil and Peru are working “to produce violence, death and political destabilization in Venezuela,” he wrote on Twitter.
Desde Perú entran por Colombia y reciben apoyo también en Brasil. Es una estrategia golpista de triangulación de gobiernos del Cartel de Lima para producir violencia, muerte y desestabilización política en Venezuela. Denunciamos a estos gobiernos ante el mundo. ¡No pasarán!
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) December 23, 2019
On December 23rd, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said that Darwin Balaguera, a former National Guard member who deserted in February and fled to Colombia, was detained over the raid.
Balaguera was among the Venezuelan soldiers who defected to Colombia during US-proclaimed Interim President Juan Guaido’s attempt to bring humanitarian aid into the country through Colombia and Brazil in February 2019.
In his address on December 28th, Nicolas Maduro urged Brazil to adhere to international law and hand over the five remaining suspects.
“A military deserter who enters another country and is detained should be handed over immediately,” Maduro said in a state television address. “Sooner rather than later, these terrorists will be in the hands of Venezuelan justice.”
He further said that 11 suspects had been detained and that the government had recovered 111 of the 120 rifles and eight of the nine grenade launchers that had been stolen in the attack.
In response, Brazil said that it would grant refuge to the suspects.
Brazil’s government announced that it “took in” the five alleged perpetrators behind the attack on a Venezuelan military border garrison and will initiate the procedures to grant them refuge under President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration.
According to the statement from the Brazilian Ministry of Defense released on December 28th, the “five Venezuelan servicemen were found by the Brazilian military on its territory on Dec. 26 during a planned patrol of border areas.”
On the next day, Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza rejected and denounced the “unusual decision confirming the pattern of protection and complicity of United States satellite states to attack Venezuela’s peace through mercenaries who have confessed their crimes, on which there is proven evidence.”
Arreaza added that to grant refuge to confessed perpetrators is not only a “grievance to humanitarian international law but it establishes dangerous precedents of protection of people that have committed blatant crimes against the peace and stability of another state.”
Arreaza released an official communique, condemning the Brazilian decision:
#COMUNICADO| La República Bolivariana de Venezuela denuncia ante la comunidad internacional la insólita decisión del Gobierno de Brasil de dar condición de refugiados a los cinco terroristas confesos, responsables del asalto armado al 513 Batallón de Infantería de la Gran Sabana pic.twitter.com/IfI2WuxvwH
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) December 29, 2019
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces to the international community the unusual decision of the Brazilian Government to grant refugee status to the five confessed terrorists, responsible for the armed assault on the 513 Infantry Battalion of the Gran Sabana”
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