Trump considered invading Venezuela at height of political crisis – reports
Why can’t the US just simply invade the troubled country? Trump reportedly asked his top aides in August 2017, referring to Venezuela, AP says, citing an unnamed US official familiar with the matter. The president particularly discussed this issue with the then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the then national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, both of whom, allegedly expressed skepticism over the idea by saying such a move could alienate the US allies in the Latin America.
Trump, who called the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator” and blamed him for the humanitarian problems in the country, was apparently not going to back down. He told his aides that he considered previous US interventions in the region “successful,” while particularly mentioning the invasions into Panama and Grenada in the 1980s.
It was reportedly the next day after this meeting, when Trump infamously threatened Caracas with “military option,” provoking outrage both in Venezuela and abroad. The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for nationwide “anti-imperialist” drills in response to this threat, while Russia denounced any plans of military intervention into the Latin American country as “unacceptable.”
The idea of a military intervention floated by the US leader was also explicitly rejected by the Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni Mamani. However, such widespread resistance to his plans allegedly did not stop Trump as less than a week later he raised the issue once again – this time with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
The US president also continued to push this idea on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2017. According to AP, he discussed the issue during a private dinner with the leader of four Latin American countries, including Colombia. Trump allegedly went as far as to ask each of the leaders personally if they are “sure” they did not want a “military solution” to the Venezuelan political crisis that the Latin American country was facing through 2017.
However, the US president eventually failed to garner support for his plans both from the regional leaders and his own administration officials. The Latin American Mercosur trade bloc, which includes Brazil and Argentina among others, particularly issued a statement, which said that “the only acceptable means of promoting democracy are dialogue and diplomacy.” The Ecuadorian President also ruled out any intervention by saying that Venezuela is free to pursue its own path while the former Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff warned that Trump’s actions might lead to a full-scale war in Latin America.
The White House declined to comment on these reports. However, a National Security Council spokesman told AP that the US still considers all options at its disposal to help “restore Venezuela’s democracy.”
Washington might indeed have not entirely given up on an idea of an intervention, or at least a military coup in Venezuela. The Trump administration slapped the Latin American country with new sanctions following Maduro’s victory in what Washington slammed as “sham” elections. The US media, meanwhile, continued to openly call for a military coup in Venezuela.
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