AP interview: Colombia says Maduro’s “brutality” must end

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — Colombia’s president compared Nicolás Maduro to Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic as he goes on a diplomatic offensive to corral the Venezuelan socialist, warning that he would be making a “stupid” mistake if he were to attack his U.S.-backed neighbor.

Ivan Duque made the comments in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press before traveling to New York where he is expected to condemn Maduro before the United Nations General Assembly as an abusive autocrat. Duque believes Maduro is not only responsible for the country’s humanitarian catastrophe but is also now a threat to regional stability for his alleged harboring of Colombian rebels.

“The brutality of Nicolás Maduro is comparable to Slobodan Milosevic,” said Duque, who has called on the International Criminal Court to investigate Maduro for human rights abuses. “It must come to an end.”

While Duque refused to rule out a military strike against the Marxist rebels he claims are hiding out across the border, he said any aggression by Venezuela’s armed forces would immediately trigger a regional response that could include additional sanctions and diplomatic actions.

“If they consider doing something so stupid, they know what the consequences will be,” said Duque.

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