By Glorimar Fernández.
National Assembly lawmaker, Americo De Grazia, denounced on his Twitter account the presence of Russian military advisors, wearing uniforms of the National Armed Forces (FAN in Spanish) in Santa Elena de Uairen, on the border with Brazil. According to de Grazia, they have been carrying out military maneuvers since last week.
The deployment is, allegedly, a response to Brazilian military drills taking place over the border. Santa Elena has been a hotbed of anti-Maduro activity since at least 2019: shootouts and military uprisings have taken place over the last two years or so, often involving members of the Venezuelan Pemon native.
Residents who were interviewed by El Pitazo confirmed the presence of foreigners in FAN uniforms. They said that since last weekend, they have seen Venezuelan and Russian military walking and marching in the highway Troncal Ten, adjacent to the military fort Escamoto.
At the same time of these actions, which have not been confirmed by any authority of the FAN, Brazilian military personnel was still carrying out armed-conflict drills in the Soapi sector of the Pacaraima municipality. This area borders Venezuela, and unofficial trails (trochas) communicate Pemon communities with Brazil.
“Russian military in Venezuelan uniform. While Dgcim and Sebin displace our Pemon Indians, the sons of Putin are trying to intimidate the Brazilians,” De Grazia published on his Twitter.
On September 29, the Venezuelan army took over several indigenous communities that border Brazil, and since then, the surveillance and intimidation against the Pemon have increased, according to their testimonies.
On October 15, the Brazilian government announced the installation of security cameras with facial recognition and license-plate numbers, as well as the incorporation of drones that will fly over the main border and bordering jungle areas.