Venezuela Stages Massive Live-Fire War Drill Amid Invasion Threats

A week after President Trump met with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó at the White House and reiterated his support to remove President Nicolás Maduro from power, Venezuela's armed forces and civilian militias staged a massive war drill over the weekend, reported Telesur

The meeting between Trump and Guaidó on Feb 5 was nothing short of historic, suggests that the US could support a future military intervention to remove the Maduro regime. 

The Trump administration has been tightening political, diplomatic, and economic screws on Maduro, but despite a crashed economy and hyperinflation, the regime continues to survive. 

Back in 2017, Trump said he is "not going to rule out a military option" to confront the Venezuelan president.

Tensions in 2019 ran high after Guaido's failed attempt to overthrow the regime. 

Last month, Guaido was denied entry into the country's National Assembly for his re-election as head of Congress, only to be reelected for a second term as speaker of parliament hours later.

The country continues to descend into chaos, and it appears that Maduro understands military intervention by Washington, or at least maybe a proxy force of some sort, could be imminent. 

Maduro's response to this lingering threat was to launch one of the most massive war drills the country has seen in years this weekend, called Bolivarian Shield 2020.

The objected of the exercise is to strengthen national defenses against armed aggressions: 

"We started the Bolivarian Shield 2020 Exercise, with the deployment of our glorious FANB (Bolivarian National Armed Forces) in a Civic Military Union, with more than 2 million 300 thousand combatants mobilized to defend territorial integrity, independence and national sovereignty. We will preserve the Peace!" Maduro said. 

Venezuelan Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino tweeted that Bolivarian Shield 2020 Exercise will be conducted through the weekend and across the country. It will help Maduro prepare and face future threats of "aggression" from Washington.

Padrino tweeted another video of the drills that shows an assortment of weapons being used, from small arms to surface to air missiles. 

AFP’s Yuri Cortez tweets pictures of an infantry battalion securing streets in Caracas. 

Ahead of this weekend's mass military exercises across the country, CNW tweeted pictures of heavy military equipment being deployed. 

So, could a military intervention in Venezuela to rid Maduro of power be the next big distraction from a recession-prone US economy?