Maduro oversees large-scale military drill in Caribbean waters

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CARACAS, July 24 (Xinhua) — Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday oversaw the launch of a large-scale defensive military drill in the Venezuelan Caribbean.

“We are going to test several weapons that Venezuela has to defend our territorial integrity,” Maduro said as the exercise was underway.

From the headquarters of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces Operational Strategic Command, Maduro authorized the start of the military maneuvers in the Gulf of Venezuela.

“It is a joint deployment of all our defensive capability. More than 1 million men and women, plus militia contingents were perfectly coordinated,” said Maduro.

The drill will be held in three stages and end on Aug. 30.

“The first stage of drills ‘Simon Bolivar’s Liberation Campaign 2019’ will last for five days,” Maduro said.

The drill comes amid heightened tensions with the United States, which has backed the far-right opposition in its push to oust Maduro from power.

It is the second large-scale military drill in Venezuela this year. The first was held in February.

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