US President Donald Trump has stated that military intervention in Venezuela is still on the table. This confirms the White House stance following rumours citing the photographed notepad of the national security advisor, John Bolton, that read ‘5 000 troops to Colombia’.
On Friday, Bolton told a US radio channel that US military intervention is not imminent but emphasised the stance of the US government keeping all options on the table. Speaking in an interview with CBS that was aired on Sunday, Trump said, “Certainly, it’s something that’s on the – it’s an option,” reserving the option for direct military intervention.
Trump also claimed that Maduro requested a meeting months ago. “I turned it down because we’re very far along in the process,” he said in a ‘Face the Nation’ interview. “So, I think the process is playing out.”
The US put even more pressure on Maduro as it announced sanctions on the country’s state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) on Monday. Following the sanctions declaration, the White House national security adviser, John Bolton, urged ‘influential players in the business world to stay away from doing business with the country’, on Twitter.
The US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Israel and Australia, along with numerous Latin American countries, have recognised the head of parliament, Juan Guaido, as the interim president. However, Russia, China, Iran and Turkey maintain their support for the embattled president, Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro proposed early parliamentary elections instead, a move that was viewed as an attempt to bolster his position by outmanoeuvring parliament’s speaker, Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself the acting interim president. France’s European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau has deemed the move as a “tragic farce”.
Chavez’s successor, Maduro, has overseen an unparalleled economic depression and the exodus of millions of Venezuelans; however, he maintains the pivotal support of the military that helps him hold sway over the country.
France, Germany, Spain and Austria gave Maduro until last night (Sunday) to call for a free and fair presidential election, saying that they would recognise Guaido as interim president if Maduro failed to respond to their call.
“Why does the European Union have to tell a country in the world that has already had elections that it has to repeat its presidential elections because they were not won by their right-wing allies?” asked Maduro in an interview in Caracas. “I refuse to call for elections now – there will be elections in 2024. We don’t care what Europe says,” he defiantly responded to the call.
Official statements from the European countries that have given the ultimatum are yet to emerge after Maduro’s outright rejection.