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3 Feb, 2019 23:30

‘Sovereignty is not discussed, it’s defended’: Venezuela slams Trump over military option

‘Sovereignty is not discussed, it’s defended’: Venezuela slams Trump over military option

Venezuelans stay ready to repel a military assault whenever it comes, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has said. She was firing back at US President Donald Trump’s remark that a military invasion is “an option” in Venezuela.

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Speaking to the Russian media on Sunday, Rodriguez said Venezuela considers Trump’s remark “unacceptable”. If an attack is mounted on the country’s sovereignty, its army and people are fully prepared to retaliate, she stressed, calling the matter of the nation’s independence non-negotiable.

“The sovereignty is not discussed, it is defended,” she stressed.

Rodriquez added that the people of Venezuela “will be on standby” to defend the country’s borders and won’t allow any foreign interference, “regardless of where it comes from.”

We are always ready to fend off an attack.

Rodriguez did not specify whether Caracas had taken any extra steps to prepare the country for a potential military attack, such as reinforcing the border, noting that all such questions should be addressed to Columbia, a US ally in the region, “which is doing that.”

Reports that Venezuela’s western neighbor may serve as a trampoline for the US troops if the “military option” is enacted have been fueled by a notepad flashed by US National Security Adviser John Bolton last week that read “5,000 troops to Colombia.” However, Bogota has since denied it had any knowledge of the implied deployment and said that Washington had not asked its permission to send in its troops.

The Venezuelan minister pledged that her government is capable of defusing the political crisis by peaceful means, in strict compliance with the constitution.

“Of course, we call for solving all problems peacefully, by establishing dialogue and resolving issues at the electoral level,” she said.

Rodriguez’s remarks were echoed by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who tweeted on Sunday that Trump has “confirmed he is at the forefront of the coup” by floating the military option.

Speaking to CBS on Saturday, Trump ruled out any negotiations with Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro while saying that sending the US military to Venezuela was “an option.” He did not elaborate further, only noting that he would not speak with the Venezuelan leader because “we’re very far along in the process.”

The US has recognized Guaido as legitimate head of the country, handing him over control of the country’s assets in the US. Several of its Latin American allies followed the lead shortly. Russia, China, Mexico and Turkey, along with other countries continue to stand behind Maduro and urge dialog to resolve the crisis.

France, Germany and Spain have threatened to jump on the US bandwagon and recognize Guaido on Monday, when the 8-day ultimatum they gave to Maduro to call early presidential elections, expires.

Venezuelan government alleges that the US is meddling in its affairs in hope of profiting from its vast oil reserves, the biggest in the world, and other natural riches.

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