A new journalistic investigation revealed that Argentina’s army contemplated the invasion of Venezuela, under the government of former President Mauricio Macri, who supported the U.S. military strategy to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.
In the Puma exercises between April and July 2019, which simulated an invasion of Venezuela, the armed forces executed seven sessions in the garrison of Campo de Mayo and by videoconference with the paratrooper brigade of Córdoba, the X Mechanized Brigade of La Pampa and the Special Operations Force commandos, also of Córdoba.
The investigation by Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky, published on Sunday, revealed that General Juan Martin Paleo, who was then commander of the rapid deployment force, was in charge of the operation. Since March 2020 he has been Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces.
These events took place at a time when the Donald Trump administration ramped up its “maximum pressure” campaign against Venezuela, which included the imposition of unilateral sanctions to destabilize the South American country, among other measures such as backing actions to assassinate President Maduro.
Several South American nations, including Argentina during Macri’s administration, gave their backing to the White House’s hostile policy against Venezuela.
In the planning of Puma, the rapid deployment force was part of a multinational force, created by a hypothetical United Nations resolution, the investigation revealed.
In addition to the rapid deployment force, with its Command Company and Intelligence Section, troops from the IV Parachute Airborne Brigade, the X Mechanized Infantry Brigade and the Special Operations Force commandos participated.
The extensive investigation by Verbitsky, published in “El Cohete a la Luna”, detailed the extensive escalation of the Trump administration to overthrow President Maduro, which included several incursions on the ground with Washington’s support.
Regarding the Argentinian participation in the plans against Venezuela, former US Southern Command Chief Admiral Craig Faller visited Buenos Aires and warned against the threat of China and Venezuela during a session with cadets of the Joint War College of the Armed Forces.
The strategy regarding the planned invasion of Venezuela would be supported by an Argentine command that would take part under humanitarian reasons, according to statements by Paleo himself.
“Regardless of the political and moral value of a plan to invade Venezuela in which Argentine soldiers would do the dirty work for the United States, from the tactical point of view, more than two years after the end of Exercise Puma, the assumptions on which it was based have been proved wrong”, Verbitsky wrote.
“The situation in Venezuela has stabilized, the United Nations has not ordered any multinational intervention force and the political forces of the ruling party and the opposition are settling their differences at the ballot box”, he pointed out.
The Venezuelan government reacted to the revelations on Monday, with President Nicolás Maduro calling the allegations “very serious” demanding explanations from Buenos Aires.
“Hopefully someone will step forward in Argentina and force an investigation into these revelations,” he said in a televised event.
The Alberto Fernández government and the Argentinian armed forces have yet to comment on the report.
Edited and with additional reporting by Venezuelanalysis.