By Umar Farooq
U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday in an interview that a military intervention in Venezuela is “an option” after Washington recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of the country last month.
“Well I don’t want to say that. But certainly it’s something that’s on the – it’s an option,” Trump told Margaret Brennan of the CBS program “Face the Nation”.
His remarks came as a response to a question on the U.S. national security and if Washington would intervene in the Latin American country.
Trump also said that he had turned down a request by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to hold a meeting a “number of months ago”, saying that the U.S. is far along in the process of working with Guaido, National Assembly President.
“I decided at the time, ‘no’ because so many really horrible things have been happening in Venezuela when you look at that country. That was the wealthiest country of all in that part of the world which is a very important part of the world. And now you look at the poverty and you look at the anguish and you look at the crime and you look at all of the things happening,” Trump added.
Tension arose in Venezuela on Jan. 23 when Guaido declared himself interim president following mass protests throughout the country.
The U.S., Canada and most Latin American countries have recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, but Maduro has so far refused calls to step down.
The U.S. has led an international campaign to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Maduro, including sanctioning the country’s state-owned oil company and a joint venture with its Nicaraguan counterpart. It has warned of grave repercussions if Guaido is harmed.
Maduro on Saturday proposed an early election for the National Assembly which was previously scheduled to be held in 2020.