Caracas, September 19, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – President Donald Trump threatened to ramp up United States intervention in Venezuela Tuesday during his first ever address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as US commander-in-chief.
In the course of his 41-minute speech, Trump singled out Venezuela for censure, alongside Iran and North Korea, echoing former US President George W. Bush’s infamous 2002 “axis of evil” address targeting Bagdad, Pyongyang, and Tehran.
“We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people," Trump declared, giving no indication of what such “action” may entail.
The US head of state likewise invoked classic Cold War-era tropes during his address, deriding Venezuela’s elected leftist government as a “socialist dictatorship”.
"From the Soviet Union to Cuba, Venezuela — wherever through socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish, devastation, and failure,” he said.
Trump concluded his remarks on Venezuela with an appeal to the 130 nations represented to “be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis” in Caracas.
Addressing the UNGA on behalf of Venezuela, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza hit back at the US leader, accusing Trump of racism and Cold War nostalgia.
“This racist and supremacist theory which he’s exposing, this return to the Cold War, for a moment we didn’t know if we were listening to President Reagan in 1982 or President Trump in 2017,” he affirmed, speaking in English.
Referring to US financial sanctions imposed on Venezuela last month, Arreaza accused Washington of violating international law by attempting to overthrow the Maduro government “by force”.
“What they are seeking is to create a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela in order force regime change – that is, an absolute violation of every one of the principles of the UN Charter,” he declared.
Trump’s latest threats against the South American nation come one day after the president sat down to dinner with leaders from five regional US allies, reportedly in order to discuss “the crisis in Venezuela”.
Held on the sidelines of the UNGA, Monday’s dinner included Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos, de facto Brazilian President Michel Temer, Juan Carlos Varela of Panama, and Argentine Vice-President Gabriela Michetti.
During the meeting, Trump similarly threatened “further action” against Venezuela, fueling speculation that Washington may ratchet up its pressure on the South American country.
“We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela, and we want it to happen very, very soon,” he urged.
Last month, Trump warned of a “possible military option” in Venezuela, provoking a regional backlash, including from close US allies such as Colombia, Peru, and Mexico.
During Monday’s dinner, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos rejected US military intervention in neighboring Venezuela.
“We reiterated to President Trump… that any military intervention would not have any support from Latin America,” he stated.
Both Colombia and Brazil have close relations of military cooperation with the United States. The two nations will join 14 other countries for US-sponsored joint military exercises in the Amazon this November.
Known as AMAZONLOG17, the drills will take place in the westernmost Brazilian city of Tabatinga on the border of Peru and Colombia and will involve the creation of a Multinational Logistics Base – just over 630 kilometers from Venezuela’s southernmost border.