Colombia’s military ordered the highest state of alert of all troops located along the border with Venezuela on Thursday amid an opposition attempt to oust disputed President Nicolas Maduro, according to newspaper El Tiempo.
The newspaper reported that the military high command’s decision is for “preventive and security reasons.”
Venezuelan soldiers who deserted their ranks in February and have since been in Colombia met up in civilian clothing at the border to join the detractors, but were sent back to their refuges, according to the National Disaster Risk Department.
The governments of both Colombia and the United States have been among the staunchest supporters of Juan Guaido, the National Assembly president who declared himself president earlier this year.
Guaido, flanked by low-level military officials, on Tuesday said that he had begun “the final phase of Operation Liberty” and called on his country’s military leadership to join him.
Colombian President Ivan Duque called on the Venezuelan military to “put themselves on the right side of history” and support Guaido’s latest attempt to oust his rival.
According to the BBC, military leaders in Caracas appear to continue to support Maduro, but some soldiers have been seen fighting alongside opposition supporters in the Venezuelan capital.
Colombia’s government has been ambiguous about whether it would support a violent overthrow of the government of Maduro, whose January reelection has not been recognized by dozens of countries in the Americas and Europe.
US President Donald Trump has consistently said “all options are on the table,” including a military coup that has been rejected by Europe and Latin America.
Colombia’s foreign minister called an urgent meeting of the Lima Group, a provisional union of Latin American countries and Canada that support Guaido, but have rejected a military solution.