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‘You’ll lose everything!’ Trump issues ultimatum to Venezuelan military, says all options are open

US President Donald Trump warned the Venezuelan military that they are risking their lives and future by supporting President Maduro in a heated speech that left “all options” open to bring democracy in the Latin American country.

“We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open,” Trump declared, speaking at Florida International University in Miami on Monday. Directly addressing the Venezuelan soldiers who continue to back President Nicolas Maduro, he gave them the choice of accepting self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido’s “generous offer of amnesty,” or facing “no safe harbor, no easy exit, and no way out.”

“You will lose everything,” he cautioned. “I have a message for every official who is helping to keep Maduro in place. The eyes of the entire world are upon you today, every day and every day in the future.”

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Trump proclaimed that “the days of socialism and communism are numbered,” blaming “Maduro dictatorship” for all of Venezuela’s woes. “Peace loving nations are willing to help Venezuela reclaim its democracy, its dignity and its destiny,” he said, to the cheers of the crowd.

Trump boasted that the US had been the first of dozens of nations to recognize Guaido when the National Assembly leader unilaterally declared himself president, glossing over the world’s split reaction to the regime change attempt.

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Faced with political uncertainty and dire socio-economic crisis, Venezuela remains under increased pressure from Washington, which has also been urging Caracas to allow international humanitarian aid into the country. Fearing a hidden motive behind the US intentions, Maduro ordered the military to come up with a plan to reinforce security along the border with Colombia.

Maduro has declared he will not bow to US pressure or resign, blaming Washington for deliberately exacerbating the crisis. He has declared the aid sitting at the Colombian border to be little more than “crumbs” and a publicity stunt, especially compared to billions of dollars the US had frozen in Venezuelan assets.

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As tensions rise, Maduro continues to call on the opposition to come to the table and negotiate. Yet Guaido seems to be sharing Washington’s determination that the time for talks has “long passed” and apparently hopes that US-led support for the so-called democratic transition in the country will bring the opposition to power.

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