Venezuela Slams Madness as Trump Suggests Military Action

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Venezuela will defend itself out of the “insanity” of Donald Trump, its defense minister said, a day following the U.S. president stated he’s considering a military option in reaction to the governmental and economic catastrophe in the oil-producing nation.

“it’s an act of insanity, it is a supreme act of extremism,” Vladimir Padrino said Saturday in announcements to Venezuela’s state broadcaster VTV.

Venezuela has been subject to growing sanctions because President Nicolas Maduro convened a national assembly designed to rewrite the nation’s sin and consolidate his power. Trump’s statement on Friday suggested the U.S. could get more deeply affected, raising the specter of U.S. intervention in Latin America that could disperse chaos in the region.

The foreign ministry, in an email, called Trump’s announcements “warmongering” also stated they represent a “direct threat to Venezuela’s peace, stability, independence, territorial unity, sovereignty and right to self-determination.”

The best U.S. diplomat in Caracas, charge Id’affaires Lee McClenny, was asked to come to the national building known as the Yellow House on Saturday, the Associated Press reported. The U.S. and Venezuela haven’t exchanged ambassadors because 2010.

Trump weighed in on Venezuela’s chaos during a brief news conference Friday in his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “Venezuela is not very far away, and the people are affected, and they’re dying,” he explained. “We’ve got many alternatives for Venezuela, including a potential military option, if needed. ”

The president declined to state if the U.S. would want to overthrow Maduro. He gave no specifics on what the U.S. would perform militarily or if it would behave peacefully.

Pence Visit

Vice President Mike Pence flies to South America on Sunday, with stops planned in Colombia, Argentina and Chile over a few days. On the eve of Pence’s coming, the government of Colombia refused Trump’s suggestion in intervention in an announcement condemning “army measures and using force. ”

Trump’s remark also triggered a negative response from a fellow Republican, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a member of the Armed Services Committee.

“No, Congress obviously isn’t authorizing war in Venezuela,” Sasse, a regular critic of the president, said in a statement. “Nicolas Maduro is a horrible human being, however, Congress doesn’t vote to spill Nebraskans’ bloodstream based on who the Executive lashes out in now. ”

Ben Rhodes, former President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, also weighed in. He explained in a tweet that Trump’s remark may have the unintentional consequence of committing Maduro a rallying point for his fans, even as he attempts to suppress opposition to his policies.

“Hard to overstate how much this really is a gift for Maduro who’ll play up threat from the US to seek out assistance from VZ and remainder of Latin America,” Rhodes tweeted.

Past Interventions

U.S. military actions in Venezuela also dangers rekindling regional resentments stemming from previous interventions.

“In the event the U.S. were to act militarily it would undoubtedly be unilateral and therefore broadly condemned by even our regional allies,” said Eric Olson, deputy director of the Latin American Program at the Wilson Center, a Washington public policy group. “Personally, I still don’t see how this aid with a solution into the Venezuela crisis. ”

For nearly two years, U.S. presidents have served as something of a rhetorical punching bag for Venezuela’s judgment socialists. George W. Bush was dubbed “Mr. Danger,” ridiculed for what was perceived as his reckless foreign policy, also Obama was constantly accused of waging a “economic war” that caused uncontrolled food shortages and spiraling inflation.

Yankee Bashing

Following the late Hugo Chavez rose into power, Yankee bashing became a normal practice when government officials needed to whip up public support at home and abroad. Leaders stage to U.S. backing of South American dictators, military interventions, even coups throughout the region along with the Cuban embargo setup during the height of the Cold War.

Since U.S. has increased pressure on Venezuela, the Maduro government has taken some tentative steps to open a channel of communication. Maduro wants to establish a dialog with Trump, Venezuela’s Foreign Relations ministry stated on Twitter. In a subsequent article, the ministry stated Maduro taught Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza to seek out a “conversation” between the two heads of state.

Maduro had stated on Thursday night that he would be willing to meet with Trump in the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

“If he’s so interested in Venezuela, here I am, the head of his fascination,” Maduro said on state television. “This is my hand, this really is my word. ”

The White House said in a statement that Trump “will gladly speak with the chief of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country. ” Maduro disregarded U.S. calls to restore democracy and instead “has chosen the route of dictatorship,” it included.

‘Insolent Threat’

A military move from Trump could hinder U.S. efforts to build a coordinated global reaction to Maduro’s undermining of democracy in his country, such as among Venezuela’s neighbors.

“Frankly, It’s irresponsible on his part,” Andrea Saldarriaga Jiménez, Assistant Director in the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center in Washington, said of Trump’s announcements in a phone interview. “It undermines all of the diplomatic efforts that the countries have done this week. ”

Saldarriaga Jiménez stated Maduro currently has “a story to additional push for the anti-imperialism message that he has out there. ”

Assets Frozen

Last week, Trump’s national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, stated in an MSNBC interview that although “democracy is over right now in Venezuela,” he didn’t believe there would be any external military intervention.

Trump delivered his warning to Venezuela on the exact same day he threatened to strike back militarily to provocations from North Korea.

The U.S. has inflicted a collection of sanctions on people associated with Maduro, freezing their assets in the U.S. and penalizing anyone in the U.S. from doing business together. The deepening political crisis and the threat of further sanctions has worsened Venezuela’s economical chaos. That has resulted in shortages of food and medication.

Venezuela, a founding member of OPEC, has the planet’s biggest proven petroleum reserves and will be the third-biggest source of primitive for the U.S.

Among the penalties still on the dining table would be a ban on imports of Venezuelan oil, which would devastate its market. Four Republican senators this week wrote to Trump cautioning that sanctions targeting Venezuela’s petroleum industry would damage the U.S. and “have the unintentional consequence of diverting oil currently processed in the U.S. into China. ”

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