Venezuela is “ready” to defend itself, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Friday, after Washington invoked a regional defense pact that might justify such a move.“We are ready to protect ourselves, we are ready to react,” Arreaza told a news conference after meeting in Geneva with UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet.
We will let no one trample sacred Venezuelan soil, we will respond and hope that never happens, the minister said.
On Wednesday, the US invoked a regional defense pact with 10 other countries and Venezuela's opposition in response to bellicose moves by President Nicolas Maduro's regime.
A request to invoke the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) came from the Venezuelan opposition, according to a statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was re-tweeted by President Donald Trump.
Recent bellicose moves by the Venezuelan military to deploy along the border with Colombia as well as the presence of illegal armed groups and terrorist organizations in Venezuelan territory demonstrate that Nicolas Maduro not only poses a threat to the Venezuelan people, his actions threaten the peace and security of Venezuela's neighbors, Pompeo said.
Trump said on Thursday that former national security advisor John Bolton was holding me back on Venezuela, where Washington has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president.
The US invoked the TIAR in response to large-scale movements by Venezuelan troops near the border with Colombia, which Maduro has accused of trying to trigger a conflict.
In Geneva, Arreaza insisted that we will never attack a brother country, our people will never trample the ground of a brother country, under any circumstance, except to defend our people and territorial integrity.
Venezuela is gripped by a deep political and economic crisis and has begun to deploy 150,000 troops along its long border with Colombia.
Colombian President Ivan Duque has also ruled out an invasion of Venezuela, but recognizes Guaido as the legitimate president.