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Iran Press TV

US to experience '15 Vietnams' in potential war with Venezuela: FM

Iran Press TV

Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:52AM

The Venezuelan foreign minister says the United States, which has threatened Venezuela with military action, would experience 15 times as many difficulties as it suffered in the Vietnam War.

US President Donald Trump on Friday said he was considering "many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary," to solve the ongoing domestic political crisis in the Latin American country.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza suggested on Saturday that the US would deeply regret any such action.

"Threatening our country, our people, our Latin America, our Caribbean, with a military intervention, is not only unprecedented and unusual, but deeply hostile, disrespectful, condemnable, abject," Arreaza said.

The US would experience "15 Vietnams" if it were to wage war on Venezuela, he warned.

Latin America behind Venezuela

Also on Saturday, Latin American countries often critical of Venezuela rejected the US's threat to use force against the conflict-hit country.

"The only acceptable means of promoting democracy are dialog and diplomacy," the South American trade bloc Mercosur said in a statement on Saturday.

The bloc, which consists of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, added, "The repudiation of violence and any option that implies the use of force is inalienable and constitutes the fundamental basis for democratic coexistence."

Other South American countries, such as Peru, Mexico, and Colombia, also joined the chorus of Latin American unity against the US with statements of their own, criticizing Washington's threat of military action against Caracas as a move against the United Nations' principles.

Senior Venezuelan officials have also responded to Trump's threat. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino denounced the threat as "an act of craziness," and Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas described it as "an unprecedented threat to national sovereignty."

Also, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has rejected the threat as "hostile," and called on Latin America to unite against Washington.

"The reckless threat by President Trump aims to drag Latin America and the Caribbean into a conflict that would permanently alter stability, peace, and security in our region," he said.

Trump's threat came as the oil-rich but impoverished country has been convulsed by months of deadly protests against the government in Caracas.

While some of the Latin American countries that rejected the use of force against Venezuela have been critical of Caracas, Trump's threat seemed to have been an escalation that warranted a rare moment of unity with the Venezuelan government. They did not, however, offer any explicit support for Caracas beyond rejecting the American threat of force.

Political tensions in Venezuela rose recently after Caracas announced plans to establish a Constituent Assembly to take over the opposition-controlled parliament and rewrite the constitution. The opposition saw the move as an overt attempt by President Nicolas Maduro to accumulate power.

Protests erupted on the streets, and clashes led to the death of at least 120 people from the two sides.

The elections were held for the 545-member Constituent Assembly according to plan on July 30, and the government said more than eight million people participated.

Maduro, who as president is the head of the Venezuelan state, later "subordinated" himself to the Assembly.

Siding with the opposition, the US has blamed Maduro for the violence and has urged regional and international governments to take strong action against his government. The US imposed sanctions against current and former Venezuelan officials over the crisis, and the US Treasury Department later froze "dictator" Maduro's US assets for going ahead with the elections.

The 54-year-old socialist leader says the US and its allies in the region are inciting the violence to bring down his government.

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