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Trump says that military intervention in Venezuela is 'an option'

The United States recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president on 23 January.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Evan Vucci

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP reiterated in comments broadcast Sunday that a US military intervention in Venezuela was “an option,” as international pressure ramps up on embattled head of state Nicolas Maduro to step down.

Asked in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation what could lead the United States to use military force in the crisis-wracked country, the president declined to give a specific answer.

“But certainly it’s something that’s on the – it’s an option,” he said.

The United States recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president on 23 January, and is leading an international campaign to drive Maduro from office.

Guaido says the constitution entitles him to serve as interim head of state because Maduro’s re-election last May was invalid, his strongest opponents having been barred from running.

Four major European nations – Britain, France, Germany and Spain – have said they will likewise recognise Guaido’s opponent unless Maduro calls new presidential elections by midnight tonight.

The Venezuelan leader has ignored those demands but has reiterated his call to bring forward legislative elections slated for the end of 2020 to this year.

“The ultimatum ends tonight,” France’s European affairs minister Natalie Loiseau told French media earlier today.

“If between now and this evening Maduro does not commit to organising presidential elections, we will consider that Mr Guaido is legitimate to organise them in his place,” Loiseau added

“And we will consider him as interim president until the elections,” she continued.

Trump has repeatedly warned “all options are on the table” in Venezuela, as his administration ramps up the pressure on Maduro through economic sanctions and appeals to the country’s armed forces to switch allegiances.

Under Maduro’s stewardship, oil-dependent Venezuela has lurched into an economic crisis that has left it suffering from hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.

Maduro refuses to let aid into Venezuela, claiming it would precede a US-led military intervention.

© – AFP 2019

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