Pentagon says has not received any orders on Venezuela from Trump

Elias Hubbard
August 13, 2017

Washington has slapped sanctions on President Nicolas Maduro and some of his allies, and branded him a "dictator" over his attempts to crush his country's opposition. But a military intervention would be an extraordinary escalation.

The sanctions came after Maduro held what many observers called an illegitimate election to hand unlimited power to Venezuela's ruling party.

Maduro said Thursday he had ordered his foreign minister to arrange a private meeting or a phone conversation with Trump.

Trump's comments have sent shockwaves in Venezuela, with Vladimir Paduro, the country's Defense Minister terming them as an act of craziness. The Foreign Ministry was due to issue a statement on the "imperial threats" later.

Ben Sasse, a senator from Nebraska and a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, criticized the new position of the President on the Venezuelan crisis.

"The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime", she added.

"Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand", Maduro said, adding that he wants as strong a relationship with the he has with Russian Federation, according to The Associated Press.

A former Obama aide on Latin America, Mark Feierstein, said the threats would vindicate Maduro's power grab.

Questions over how seriously to take the threat underscore the unusual nature of the Trump presidency.

"We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary", Xinhua quoted Trump as saying. "I think you know that answer to that", he said.

Speaking to reporters on Friday at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, Trump deplored Venezuela's growing humanitarian crisis and declared that all options remain on the table, including a potential military intervention, reports The Washington Post.

"Venezuela is a mess".

The assault highlighted the growing volatility in the oil-rich but economically-ailing country after four months of sustained anti-government protests and unrest in which more than 120 people have been killed.

Venezuela is now witnessing volatile unrest, with the looting of arms and ammunitions from a military base by anti-government forces following the usurping of legislative powers from the opposition-dominated Congress by a new lawmaking body.

Other Latin American countries also condemned Mr Trump's comments, including Mexico, Colombia and Peru, which said Mr Trump's threat was against United Nations principles.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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