Venezuela holds two day military drills in face of US tensions

World Today

Soldiers march during a military drill in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. Followers of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and civilian militias marched alongside soldiers to denounce U.S. economic sanctions and express support to military exercises in defiance of President Donald Trump warning of possible military action to resolve the country’s crisis. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Venezuela is holding a two day military drill across the country as tensions with the U.S. boil over.

The U.S. launched new economic sanctions and President Donald Trump hinted at military action against President Nicholas Maduro.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas reports.

War planes, tanks and some 200,000 troops took part in the nation’s military drills. Some 700,000 reservists and civilians also participated in military exercises across the country.

President Nicholas Maduro says his government and it’s people are prepared for any type of invasion launched by Western forces.

U.S. President Trump warned on Aug 11 the U.S. was considering a range of options against Venezuela including a military option. That was later downplayed by other White House officials. Instead the White House administration optioned for additional economic sanctions which are aimed at crippling the South American’s ability to issue bonds and tap into it’s oil industry.

Protests have consumed Venezuela and left 125 people dead so far this year. Opposition forces have accused Maduro of using the military and militias as personal tools to crush resistance against his government. Maduro has denied these charges saying the opposition has been aided by Western powers to undermine his government.

Venezuela is struggling through an economic crisis with triple digit inflation, food and supply shortages and social upheaval. Maduro was elected in 2013 following in the footsteps of his late mentor Hugo Chavez.