Venezuelan Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello on Saturday predicted U.S. Marines will “likely” enter the South American country, speaking a week after a confrontation between aircraft belonging to the two countries’ armed forces.
“We are few, a small country, we are very humble, and here it is likely that the U.S. Marines enter. It is likely that they enter,” Cabello told the Sao Paulo Forum, a gathering of leftist politicians and activists from across Latin America, without citing evidence. “Their problem will be getting out of Venezuela.”
The US hospital ship is due to be “very close” to Venezuela, Admiral Craig Faller, Commander of the US Southern Command, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg on Friday.
The Comfort, a military sealift command hospital ship with about 950 crew and medical personnel on board, is starting a five-month humanitarian deployment.
That trip will take it across Central America, South America and the Caribbean in support of the political and economic crisis in Venezuela that’s seen millions flee and placed stress on the health care systems of neighboring countries.
The Strategic Command Operations of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (CEOFANB) has, meanwhile, tweeted that on Saturday, US spy planes had once again “entered the zone controlled by Venezuela, violating aviation security and international treaties”.
“The United States continues to openly insult our country,” the CEOFANB added.
US-Venezuela tensions have escalated this year since Juan Guaido, leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, arguing socialist President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.
While the US and its allies in the region recognised Guaido, Russia and China, as well as a number of other countries, signalled their support for Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate president.