Speaking after talks at his New Jersey golf club with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump told reporters, "We have many options for Venezuela and by the way I'm not going to rule out military options." Trump said a military option is “certainly something that we could pursue.” He said the people in Venezuela are “suffering and they are dying.” Trump said “We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away”.
|area||75,420 sq km||912,050 sq km|
14,000 TOTAL Defense Forces|
3,500 Dignity Battalions
23,000 National Guard
|tanks||- 0 -||173|
|- 0 -||54|
|US Bases||6||- 0 -|
|US Planning||PLAN BLUE SPOON||none?|
|United States KIA||23|
Trump's comment marked a serious escalation in rhetoric for the US, which has up until now stressed a regional approach that encourages Latin American allies to escalate pressure on the Maduro regime. Hours before Trump's comments, a senior administration official speaking on condition of anonymity stressed that approach while briefing reporters on Vice President Mike Pence's upcoming trip to the region.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence encountered resistance from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos 13 August 2017 over Trump's threat to use military action in Venezuela. Speaking at a joint news conference with Santos in Cartagena, Pence did not rule out using military force, but he did not directly talk about it either. Santos said no Latin America country would accept any form of U.S. military intervention in Venezuela and that it should never even be considered. Recalling more than a century of U.S. military action throughout Latin America, Santos said no Latin leader wants "that phantom" to reappear.
Shortly after Donald Trump said a military option is not being ruled out for Venezuela, the White House issued a statement saying it had rejected a request from his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro to have a telephone conversation with him. It is not clear if Maduro asked for the call before or after Trump's remarks.
The White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' statement said "Since the start of this Administration, President Trump has asked that Maduro respect Venezuela’s constitution, hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, cease all human rights violations, and stop oppressing Venezuela’s great people" It continued, "The Maduro regime has refused to heed this call, which has been echoed around the region and the world. Instead Maduro has chosen the path of dictatorship...President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country."
The Pentagon said the U.S. military was ready to support efforts to protect U.S. citizens and America’s national interests abroad. Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said it is the job of the Defense Department to conduct contingency planning for possible military actions all around the world and to offer those options to the president.
Trump's threat of military intervention in Venezuela also seems to contradict the advice of his top national security adviser. Citing the resentment stirred in Latin America by the long US history of military interventions in the region, General H.R. McMaster said he didn't want to give Maduro any ammunition to blame the "Yankees" for the "tragedy" that has befallen the oil-rich nation. "You've seen Maduro have some lame attempts to try to do that already," McMaster said in an interview that aired 05 August 2017 on MSNBC.
Rather than send in the Marines, McMaster said it was important for the US and its neighbors to speak with a single voice in defense of Venezuela's democracy. "It's important for us to place responsibility for this catastrophe on Maduro's shoulders. He is the one who has caused it, and he's the one who's perpetuating it," he said.
Hua Chunying, China's Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry, stated 14 August 2017 that the government was cognizant of current affairs taking place throughout Latin America and said, "China maintains its principle: non-interference in the internal affairs of states. We believe that we must solve the problems based on respecting the sovereign equality of all states, not intervening in the internal affairs of nations."
The German government also sharply criticized Washington's belligerent stance toward Venezuela in response to Trump's comments. Steffen Seibert, spokesperson for Germany's executive branch, stated that Chancellor Angela Merkel desires a “peaceful solution” to Venezuela's crisis “through diplomacy.”
Uruguay decried the U.S. government's warmongering rhetoric. While speaking to the press, Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez said that his government “emphatically and sharply” rejects Trump's opinion of a military intervention in Venezuela. “Venezuela's problems must be resolved by the Venezuelan people, without foreign intervention, therefore, we emphatically and sharply reject the U.S. President's opinions.”
Ecuador says it "reminds the international community that the declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace implies the commitment of all nations to preserve our common territory free of threats or military interventions of any kind. In this context, it expresses its solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and rejects any threat of possible military intrusion into its territory. Ecuador reiterates the call for dialogue as the only way to solve the situation of the brother Venezuelan people."
Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes announced that his nation does not support military intervention in Venezuela. "The time for the big stick has passed," he said. "Our path is that of diplomacy, politics and negotiation."
Noam Chomsky said the remarks were "shocking and dangerous." Chomsky believes Trump maybe "painting himself into a corner. It is worth remembering that he is probably following his usual practice of speaking to his base, and trying to ensure that he remains in the limelight, not caring much about real world consequences (except to his pocketbook and image). The best hope is that some of the generals around him, who presumably understand the consequences, will manage to control him."
Since Maduro took office in 2013, he had been warning of US military designs on Venezuela, home to the world's largest oil reserves. But most Venezuelans tended to shrug the accusations off as diversionary tactics of an unpopular leader. One website even emerged to keep track of the multiple conspiracy theories spread on state media and Maduro's frequent harangues against Washington. But Trump's comments that he won't rule out a "military option" in Venezuela may yet validate those claims in the eyes of some government supporters.
Venezuela Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino told state television the U.S. president's comments were "an act of craziness." Padrino, a close ally of Maduro, said, "With this extremist elite that's in charge in the US, who knows what will happen to the world?"
Delcy Rodriguez, president of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, ANC, announced 12 August 2017 that the political body will work alongside Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in the face of the military threat posed by Trump. Rodriguez said “the National Constituent Assembly will act to accompany the head of state, Maduro, in the defense of our beloved Venezuela”.
The ex-foreign minister also rejected the “cowardly, insolent and vile threats of the president of the United States against the sacred sovereignty of Venezuela.” She concluded that “offenses and aggressions against the highest levels of government will be repudiated by the anti-imperialist people of Venezuela."
Echoing Rodriguez’s claims, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez called the U.S. president's threat “an act of madness” and “extremism” Lopez added “There is an extremist elite that rules the United States”. Likewise, Venezuelan Minister for Communication and Information Ernesto Villegas labeled Trump’s remarks “the most serious and insolent threat ever made against Bolivar’s homeland.”
On 18 April 2017 President Nicolas Maduro delivered a speech from Miraflores Presidential Palace. Along with Minister of Defense, General in Chief Vladimir Padrino Lopez, Vice President Tareck El Aissami and National Assembly member Diosdado Cabello announce the Zamora Plan to guarantee order and security in the country. The decision was prompted after a U.S. State Department statement was released the same evening. The text supported the violence generated by clashes affiliated to the opposition agenda during the "plantón," trying to intimidate key players of Venezuelan military and judicial institutions to allow these events so that they would avoid being the subject of incoming sanctions.
The Venezuelan government’s decision to arm civilians to defend the country’s socialist revolution was part of the Zamora Plan — a readiness operation that calls for the activation of militias when facing an imminent threat of war. The Zamora Plan gave the legal basis for Maduro’s previous announcement that he would give rifles to 400,000 militias to protect his government from a coup that he said was being planned in Washington.
On 24 June 2017, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denounced a plan by sectors of the right-wing opposition to activate and justify an intervention in that country. "We have contained and defeated the oligarchic, imperialist coup that was being planned against Venezuela this week,” Maduro said. “The homeland is already at peace.”
The Venezuelan president explained that the plan consisted of several stages in a chain of events that transpired. The plan, according to Maduro, involved increased acts of violence to provoke deaths, commotion in the east of the capital and the betrayal of a group of soldiers who called for a coup to justify a process of intervention were part of that agenda. He stressed that the plan was neutralized by the country's executive branch. "From the high military political command we've been in session and permanent activity to cut the chain of coup events,” Maduro said.
In May 2006, Venezuelan politicians complained about a "first person shooter" computer game that simulated an invasion of the South American nation. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames for the Playstation 3 was developed by [now defunct] Pandemic Studios and published by Electronic Arts. In Mercenaries 2: World In Flames, gamers play soldiers sent to overthrow "a power-hungry tyrant [who] messes with Venezuela's oil supply, sparking an invasion that turns the country into a war zone".
In the game Ramon Solano was a druglord who contracted the player's mercenary for a job. Following a militaristic coup, Solano becomes the dictator of Venezuela. He used his position to seize control of the country's oil supply, resulting in an international incident and distress among OPEC. A large portion of the Venezuelan army fiercely support the dictator's cause. A mercenary who was betrayed by the Venezuela war lord is out for revenge. The Mercenary goes through the open world, taking over cars and blasting through the enemy lines.
Disclaimer on official Mercenaries 2 website stated "Pandemic Studios is in the business of entertainment. It has never been contacted by any U.S. government agency concerning the development of Mercenaries 2. All persons, storylines and events are purely fictional and bear no relation to real events. As with any number of games, movies and books, the decision to choose interesting events and locations is purely designed to tell a compelling story, as well as provide a fun and rich experience for the gamer."
Venezuelan congressman Ismael Garcia, a supporter of Chavez, said the computer game was preparation work for a real invasion. "I think the US government knows how to prepare campaigns of psychological terror so they can make things happen later," he said.
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