U.S. to hold military exercise near Venezuela
U.S. Southern Command announced that it will be participating in military exercises just a few miles off Venezuela’s coast next month, as the island of Trinidad and Tobago plays host to an annual event called “Fused Response.”
In a statement, Southcom said the multilateral exercise is “aimed at strengthening relationships, building capacity and expanding cooperation among participating defense and security forces” and that it would include “realistic scenarios that test regional stability and challenge the skills of participants.”
The annual event has been held since 2011 and Barbados will be used as a staging area for this year’s exercise, which runs from April 16-26, Southcom said.
Venezuela accuses Washington of plotting coups or outright invasions, and the military drills on an island less than 10 miles from its shore are likely to raise hackles.
Week ago Washington issued new sanctions against four Venezuelan officials and barred U.S. citizens from dealing in the country’s Petro digital currency, as it continues to ratchet up pressure on the socialist administration.