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Weekly Report - 29 April 2021 (WR-21-17)

VENEZUELA-COLOMBIA: Playing the blame game as Apure violence continues

News on the violence in Venezuela’s Apure state is coming in dribs and drabs, with murky details emerging in contradictory reports from the Venezuelan authorities and human rights organisations. A clear picture can be discerned through the haze, however. Mounting reports of dead soldiers point to a government struggling to prise territorial control from the grip of a guerrilla group whose presence it long tolerated in the region. Meanwhile, relentless accusations that the Colombia government is behind the violence, as well as the security forces’ alleged extra-judicial execution of civilians to frame them as felled combatants, indicate that the authorities are as much engaged in a propaganda war as a physical conflict. That propaganda campaign is likely to continue for as long as the army remains on the back foot.

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