The option of sending the US military to Venezuela is on the table, while talking to President Nicolas Maduro is not, President Donald Trump said in an interview on Sunday.
While talking to CBS’ Face the Nation, Trump would not expand on the prospects of military involvement in the crisis in the Latin America country besides replying that “it’s an option.”
He also confirmed that he refused to talk to President Maduro when he suggested a meeting a few months ago. According to Trump, there is no point in talking to Venezuela’s elected president because “we’re very far along in the process” and there are “horrible things happening” in the country, such as “poverty,” “anguish,” and “crime.”
“You have a young and energetic gentleman but you have other people within that same group that have been very, very – if you talk about democracy – it’s really democracy in action,” Trump said.
Washington jumped in with its support of Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, who declared himself “interim president” almost two weeks ago. While US allies on the continent and in Europe have backed Guaido, Russia, Mexico, Turkey, and a number of other countries urged dialogue and little international involvement in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
Speculation about the US sending troops to deal with the situation in Venezuela peaked after US National Security Advisor John Bolton was photographed holding a yellow legal notebook during a press briefing that said “5,000 troops to Colombia.” The White House would not expand on the matter, while Bogota said it had no clue what it meant and that it would act only “politically and diplomatically” with its neighbor. US spy planes, however, were noticed flying over Colombia last week.
Besides supporting Guaido in the international arena, the US also promised $20 million in humanitarian aid to Guaido’s fledgling government, and gave the opposition leader access to Venezuelan assets held in US banks. Bolton also said that Maduro’s government should get out of the way as the US delivers this aid. Washington slapped sanctions on the state oil company. Venezuela, which saw hyperinflation last year, is dependent on oil revenues, and the collapse of the price of oil along with the government’s mismanagement put the country in a dire financial situation with over 3 million people fleeing.
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