President Nicolas Maduro and his government have faced strong criticism from several Latin American nations over the controversial Constituent Assembly, which has the power to rewrite the country’s constitution.
President Donald Trump’s statement last week that the US has “many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary” was meant to strike fear into Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but instead more likely boosted the dictator’s fortunes, Antonio Mora wrote in an opinion piece in The Hill.
Colombia, Peru and the Mercosur bloc of nations – three of Venezuela’s biggest and perhaps most effective detractors in the region – were among those who issued statements denouncing Trump’s bellicose rhetoric.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, spokesperson Rodrigo Granda: Let us not allow an invasion in the style of Granada or Panama to be repeated with impunity.
Mr Trump did not specify what type of options he had in mind.
“There is an extremist elite in the United States government”, he added, “and I really don’t know what is happening and what will happen in the world”.
Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino last Friday disparaged Mr Trump’s warning as “craziness” and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Saturday that Venezuela rejected “hostile” threats, calling on Latin America to unite against Washington. “Some of these countries have recently taken positions absolutely contrary to our sovereignty and independence, but still have rejected the declarations of the US President”.
“I have no idea why we would use military force in Venezuela”. Peru, one of Mr Maduro’s fiercest critics, led the charge in criticising Mr Trump’s threat.
Firing back at Trump’s threat, Maduro’s son – speaking as a newly elected assembly member – said rifles would “arrive and take the White House” if Venezuela was “tarnished” by USA military intervention.
Mexico and Colombia joined in with statements of their own.
President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist administration has been under siege at home and overseas after more than four months of anti-government protests in which 120 people died. “Our path is that of diplomacy, politics and negotiation”.
Rosneft has also positioned itself as a middleman in sales of Venezuelan oil to customers worldwide. Rosneft now resells about 225,000 barrels a day of Venezuelan oil – about 13 per cent of the nation’s total exports, according to PDVSA trade reports.