United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday the U.S. is preparing unspecified “actions” to increase pressure on the Venezuelan government.
“You’ll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks, who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people… We’re determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say,” Pompeo said in a reference to the May 2018 elections, which President Nicolas Maduro comfortably won after sectors of the opposition decided to abstain from participating.
The Donald Trump administration refuses to recognize the results of the elections despite assurances by international observers who accompanied the electoral process.
Washington has imposed a series of economic and financial sanctions on Venezuela, deepening the economic crisis the South American country is facing in an attempt to force president Maduro to step down.
Whilst financial markets braced for potentially more sanctions, other analysts have classed the announcement as mere electioneering from Trump.
Earlier this week, Rahm Emmanuel, White House chief of staff under the Barack Obama administration warned that President Donald Trump “will do anything” for a political boost ahead of November's legislative elections in an interview with CNBC.
Emmanuel was referring to the possibility of “military action” against Venezuela, which has raised many alarms, especially because his remarks came shortly after a NYTimes report revealed officials in the Trump administration had met with members of Venezuela’s armed forces to discuss a coup.
The threats of “action” against Venezuela also come just days after Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) publicly endorsed the possibility of military intervention in the country. Last Friday Almagro said from the Colombian border city of Cucuta: "As for a military intervention we should not rule out any option."
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro survived an assassination attempt last month. The government’s investigations point to members of the political opposition in Venezuela working with U.S. and Colombian support.
Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Ministry has argued the U.S. is acting illegally against the country. Friday, in response to a U.S. report on Venezuela the ministry issued a statement saying that "threatening the use of military force against Venezuela or any other country, as well as the imposition of unilateral coercive measures, and the illegal economic blockade are modalities to generate terror and suffering to peaceful societies."
Venezuela has also slammed the "warmongering" declarations of Trump as "threats to peace" and a "violation" of United Nations and international laws.