Trump Alarms Venezuela With Talk of a 'Military Option'

Patrice Gainsbourg
Agosto 13, 2017

Trump said the crisis in Venezuela was one of the topics discussed during talks Friday in New Jersey with his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

The Venezuelan communications minister, Ernesto Villegas, in a television interview, called Mr. Trump's remark "an unprecedented threat to national sovereignty". Maduro went on to claim that Trump played a part in a failed attack on a Venezuelan military base Sunday.

General Vladimir Padrino, a close ally of Maduro, said: "With this extremist elite that's in charge in the U.S., who knows what will happen to the world?"

"We had some very good meetings, some very good ideas, very good thoughts, and a lot of decisions were made", Trump said following the briefing, without providing details.

"We have many options for Venezuela and by the way, I'm not going to rule out a military option", Trump said.

Shortly after Trump raised the possibility of a military solution in Venezuela Friday, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that it hadn't received orders regarding Venezuela.

Trump is making it up as he goes along and has now threatened to commit the United States military to invasions of two countries.

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The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has for months been the target of mass popular protests, leading to the deaths of some 120 people.

The trip was already sure to be dominated by discussion of Venezuela, with Pence expected to call on the leaders to continue to pressure the Maduro government and encourage others in the region to do the same.

"Venezuela categorically rejects the unfriendly and warmongering declarations of Trump, who has threatened us with a military intervention, in violation of United Nations principles and global law", said the foreign minister.

Mercosur members regard dialogue and diplomacy as the only possible option for achieving democracy in Venezuela, a statement by Argentina's Foreign Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the president did not directly answer a question about whether the U.S. troops would lead the potential operation.

The restrictions were introduced after the United States labeled as "illegitimate" the Constituent Assembly elections, which took place in Venezuela in June.

Trump has been blasting Maduro's moves to consolidate power, describing him as a "dictator".

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