Regional Leaders Denounce Trump's Military Threat to Venezuela

Trump Venezuela

Spanish graffiti on a street Caracas Venezuela reads “They won’t defeat us.”

President Donald Trump's statement last week that the USA has "many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary" was meant to strike fear into Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but instead more likely boosted the dictator's fortunes, Antonio Mora wrote in an opinion piece in The Hill.

Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino last Friday disparaged Mr Trump's warning as "craziness" and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Saturday that Venezuela rejected "hostile" threats, calling on Latin America to unite against Washington.

Bolivian President Evo Morales also condemned on Saturday the "armed interventionist eagerness by the USA against Venezuela", slamming the global community for keeping silent. Regional alliance Mercosur said that it rejected the use of force against Venezuela, despite having indefinitely suspended the country last week amid worldwide condemnation of Mr Maduro's new, all-powerful "constituent Assembly". "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said.

Also Saturday, Peru said "any attempted use of force, whether it's external or internal, undermines the objective of restoring democracy ... to Venezuela".

"All measures should be peaceful and respect the sovereignty of Venezuela", a statement from Colombia's foreign ministry said.

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Colombia amid escalating tensions with neighboring Venezuela and North Korea.

Meantime, Pence has scheduled other stops in Argentina, Chile and Panama, giving speeches and meeting with leaders.

President Nicolas Maduro's socialist administration has been under siege at home and overseas after more than four months of anti-government protests in which 120 people died.

Analysts say Pence will have his hands full in trying to gain political leverage in the region. Although the Venezuelan military is obviously no match for the American one, it is far from a pushover and if it resisted an invasion, the ensuing conflict "especially in densely-populated Caracas, would undoubtedly lead to a catastrophic loss of innocent lives".

In Colombia, Pence was expected to highlight trade, business investment and other ties between the nations, including US support for Bogota's efforts to implement its peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

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