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  • Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe

    Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe | Photo: Reuters

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe urged the Venezuelan military to rebel against the democratically-elected government.

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who is connected to far-right paramilitaries in his country, promoted an intervention in Venezuela by calling on members of the Armed Forces to stage a coup against the democratically-elected government.

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Uribe, now a Senator from the right-wing Democratic Center party, said the military should force Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to "step aside" and "put their rifles at the service of democratic values," La FM radio reported.

Fabian Acuña, a professor of political science at the Javeriana University in Colombia, said the comment is an "irresponsible" call for a coup and marks an authoritarian tone. He said it is a violation of the United Nations Charter, which Colombia has signed, that demands respect for the internal affairs of each country. 

Uribe said that he hopes that the people will take "the course of democracy" and prevent the elections on Sunday for the National Constituent Assembly called by Maduro to reach a peaceful end to the current political situation. Last April, Uribe also called for the overthrow of Venezuela's socialist government.

The former president said he based his comments on the referendum called by the Venezuelan opposition, which had no legality and was not recognized by the country's National Electoral Council. The sham referendum, according to Uribe, showed that Venezuelans "don't want to vote on Sunday."

"This constituent is a higher phase of consolidation of Castroism, which like all communism, has always had a democratic face. We accompany the democratic opposition of Venezuela," Uribe said Friday in a video posted on Twitter.

Uribe's 2002 to 2010 presidency was marked by record-level human rights abuses, including the “false positives” scandal. Investigations of the scandal revealed that the right-wing leader called for a military strategy that murdered civilians, including homeless and mentally ill people, while dressing them in guerrilla clothes to boost the government’s body count in the war against rebels. More than 3,000 people were killed as “false positives” during Uribe’s two terms in office.

Uribe is an outspoken representative of the hardline faction opposing dialogue and reconciliation with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, and the National Liberation Army, ELN, in Colombia.

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Current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos also said he rejected the National Constituent Assembly and said the results will not be recognized by Colombia, even though it is an internal and democratic election based on the Venezuelan Constitution.

Almost 20 million Venezuelans are expected to choose from 6,120 candidates representing diverse sectors and territories for the 545-member assembly. 

Meanwhile, some sections of the opposition are calling for a boycott of the election and continue to reject Maduro's offers of dialogue. The right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition has called for a week of action in the run up to the vote to disrupt the electoral process.

Opposition-led protests aimed at toppling the Bolivarian government began in early April, where more than 100 people have been killed and around 1,200 others have been injured.

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