Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro launched what he described as the “most important” military drills in the history on Sunday amid an ongoing political crisis in the South American nation.
The large-scale military exercise, which is being held in the country’s 200-year history, will continue until Feb. 15.
“We must prepare to defend [Venezuela’s] sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence,” said Mauro, during his speech to soldiers at the Guaicaipuro Military Base in Miranda, central northern and coaster state of Venezuela.
“Here are armed forces and here are the people to defend the honor, dignity and decorum of a country that has over 200 years of fighting for its future.”
He also voiced against U.S. President Donald Trump who aggressively backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and called for a regime change.
“Get out Donald Trump, get out his threats!,” Maduro said.
Washington’s aggressive support to self-proclaimed ‘acting president’ Guaido might escalate into a direct military intervention.
The war game is believed to be held for preparing to repel any potential invasion from the U.S. and its allies.
The military ceremony was attended by the commanders of the land and air forces, as well as the Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
The military exercise began on the 200th anniversary of Simon Bolivar’s Angostura Speech, which led the independence movement against the Spanish rule in Latin America.
Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10 when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.
Tensions rose when opposition leader Guaido declared himself acting president on Jan. 23, a move which was supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.
Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have put their weight behind Maduro.