Operation Balboa

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Operation Balboa was a military simulation conducted by the Spanish Armed Forces from May 3 to 18, 2001 to mimic an invasion of western Venezuela from Colombia and Panamá. The military exercise included operation by land, air and sea in which the forces of the United States along with regional allies carried an attack to seize the west of Venezuela under the authorization of a fictitious UN resolution 1580.

In the simulation, an alter ego of the Spanish Armed Forces was loaded with confidential and classified information of Venezuela provided by the US to NATO. In it the United States were identified as the Blue Country, Colombia as the White Country, Panama as the Cyan Country and Venezuela as the Brown Country.


The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, in 2005 alleged that this operation is more than a simulation, and that it is a part of real plan (Plan Balboa) to invade Venezuela and seize its oil. As a result of this, he announced that Venezuela has designed a Contra-Balboa operation to face this threat. Chávez made this claim on September 16th 2005, during an interview [1] on ABC News' Nightline show. Chavez promised that he would send Ted Koppel documentation of the plan, "maps and everything". After over two months, Koppel reported:

We need to report that after many requests, over more than two months now, we have received nothing from President Chavez or any of his people. I did, however, receive a letter from the former Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN, who says he’s very familiar with Plan Balboa. It was, he says, a plan prepared not by the United States, but rather it was a war game designed by the armed forces of Spain. [2]

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