US President Donald Trump has confirmed that sending troops to Venezuela is still an option.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on February 4, 2019

Trump made the comments during an appearance on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’. He did not give details on what exactly would trigger a US intervention in Venezuela, but confirmed that “it’s an option”.

Venezuelan ally Russia, meanwhile, has warned other nations to refrain from military involvement. “The international community’s goal should be to help (Venezuela), without destructive meddling from beyond its borders,” Alexander Shchetinin, Head of the Latin America department at Russia’s Foreign Ministry, said.

European nations set to recognise Guaidó

Trump also told CBS he received an offer to meet Maduro “a number of months ago”, but rejected it. “I’ve turned it down because we’re very far along in the process,” Trump said. “You have a young and energetic gentleman, but you have other people within that same group that have been very, very – if you talk about democracy – it’s really democracy in action.”

After swearing himself in as the new Venezuelan leader, Juan Guaidó left open the possibility he would accept military support from the US. He added that the Venezuelan people were willing to use “whatever pressure is necessary” to bring an end to the regime of former President Nicolás Maduro, which saw millions flee the country amid hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.

Many other nations, including Australia, Brazil and Canada rushed to follow the US in recognising the legitimacy of Guaidó’s rule. A number of European nations are also poised to follow suit if Maduro does not immediately call elections.

Russia, China and Italy have not recognised the new Venezuelan leadership

Venezuela became an international pariah in the Maduro years, but Guaidó is already moving to restore global ties. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, he said he is seeking a “productive and mutually beneficial” relationship with China and wants to open a dialogue with Chinese officials “as soon as possible”. China has previously defended the legitimacy of Maduro’s role.

Maduro also enjoys support from the far-right Five Star wing of the Italian coalition government, which refused to support recognition of Guaidó.

It is thought that none of the European heads of state support military intervention in Venezuela, though they are open to imposing sanctions on Maduro to force him to hold open elections. The US has already imposed sanctions on PDVSA, Venzuela’s powerful state-owned oil company.

A number of European and Latin American leaders, including British Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan, are convening in Ottawa to discuss how best to support Guaidó and his colleagues.

Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, said the situation in Venezuela “poses huge security, humanitarian and economic challenges for the entire hemisphere.”