Merida, July 5, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan authorities staunchly rejected renewed rumours that US President Donald Trump has considered a military invasion of Venezuela, following leaks from an unnamed Trump advisor regarding closed-door national security meetings held last August.
According to the source, when addressing the issue of Venezuela, President Trump asked his top advisors – which included at the time National Security Advisor Herbert McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – why the “US couldn’t simply invade?”
He allegedly cited the examples of US ground invasions of Panama (1989) and Grenada (1983), which he classed as “successful.”
The alleged August 10 discussion occurred one day before Trump publicly stated that his administration was considering “many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.”
According to his aides, Trump also broached the idea of a US military operation in Venezuela with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos a few days later, as well as in September in a private dinner with four allied Latin American leaders, including Santos.
The US currently has a significant military presence in the region, allegedly with more than 70 military bases in the region, mostly located in the Caribbean and in Colombia, which is currently requesting NATO membership.
In response, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared Wednesday that a military intervention “will never be a solution for the problems of our nation.”
Speaking at a military promotion ceremony in Caracas’ National Pantheon the day before Venezuela’s annual July 5th Independence Day military parade, Maduro called on the country’s armed forces to “not lower your guard, not for a second… to be prepared to defend the national territory under any conditions… at any moment.”
In August, President Maduro ordered extensive military operations in response to Trump’s comments.
In response to the widely reported revelations, a White House National Security Council spokesman denied the leaks Thursday, telling EFE that “an invasion was not planned" in August, but that Washington is still considering "all the options available to it."
Despite claims that they discouraged the president from a military intervention in Venezuela in August, the majority of Trump’s top aides have since voiced support for violent regime change in the South American country.
In August, McMaster stated, “There's no such thing really anymore as only a military option or a diplomatic option or an economic option, we try to integrate all elements together.”
Similarly, Tillerson caused a stir with his February statements alluding to the possibility of a coup in Venezuela, in which he claimed, “When things are so bad that the military leadership realizes that it just can’t serve the citizens anymore, they will manage a peaceful transition.”
Tillerson’s replacement as secretary of state, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, asserted last July that he was “hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela,” following meetings with Colombian and Mexican officials.
Meanwhile, hard-right Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is believed to be an influential policy advisor to Trump on Latin American affairs, has likewise expressed vocal support for the military overthrow of Maduro, tweeting in February, “The world would support the Armed Forces in Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator.”
The Trump administration did not recognise Venezuela’s recent presidential elections and has led regional sanctions against the country which UN experts have described as “illegal.”
Regional reaction to the rumour of US military plans in Venezuela has been largely negative in the past, with few governments willing to support them. A recent regional tour by Mike Pence was considered unsuccessful, following a tepid reception from US allies when the issue of ramping up unilateral sanctions was raised.