Role of Army Comes Into Focus Amid Huge Military Exercise

Venezuela’s military carries out its biggest ever exercises. Defense Minister Vladimir Patrino Lopez said “Venezuela is threatened… This is the first time we are carrying out an exercise of this nature in the country. In terms of national reach, it’s going to be in every strategic region.” Maduro says that the United States “dream of dividing our armed forces... fragmenting them, weakening them.” He also claims that a US military aircraft “with lethal technical abilities” illegally entered his country's airspace twice over the past week. 

Opposition leader Capriles dismisses the drill, saying “There is no war here… In Venezuela we should be declaring war against hunger, against medicine shortages, against violence, against this crisis.” He also declares that the army must “stand with the constitution or with Maduro.” Making clear that Capriles isn’t calling for a coup, some commentators have nonetheless speculated that the opposition may have some inkling of military discontent with the regime.