Trump threatens ‘military option’ in Venezuela as crisis escalates

Powered by article titled “Trump threatens ‘military option’ in Venezuela as crisis escalates” was written by Ben Jacobs in Washington, for on Friday 11th August 2017 23.30 UTC

Donald Trump threatened a US military intervention in Venezuela on Friday, a dramatic escalation in his administration’s stance toward the Latin American country which is descending into political chaos.

Trump made the remarks in response to questions from reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Asked what options were available for the US in dealing with Venezuela, which has descended into civil unrest under the leadership of president Nicholás Maduro, Trump responded by explicitly not ruling out military force.

“We have many options for Venezuela and by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option,” he said.

“We have many options for Venezuela, this is our neighbor,” Trump added. “We’re all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very very far away, Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary.”

The surprise intervention caps a week of increasingly bellicose rhetoric directed at North Korea.

Venezuela has appeared to slide toward a more volatile stage of unrest in recent days, with anti-government forces looting weapons from the military after the installation of an all-powerful new legislative body.

Donald Trump speaks to the press from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Donald Trump speaks to the press from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

When a reporter followed up to ask Trump if this “military option” would be US led, the president responded: “We don’t talk about it. A military operation, a military option is certainly something that we could pursue.”

The remarks come as Maduro has convened a constituent assembly, in an election widely denounced by international observers, to amend the country’s constitution to cement his grip on power. Maduro has also forced the country’s chief prosecutor from office, while the United Nations has condemned the government’s use of excessive force against protestors.

Although Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, its economy has collapsed in recent years as the country led first by the late Hugo Chávez and then by his successor, Maduro, has resorted to increasingly authoritarian measures to consolidate power.

Trump’s remarks come in the shadow of a 2002 coup attempt against Chávez that he blamed on the US. The coup was launched after a violent confrontation between marchers in support of a general strike clashed with government forces.

Associated Press contributed to this report. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Trump threatens 'military option' in Venezuela as crisis escalates | NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).