Trump says "military option" possible in Venezuela

Venezuela lingers near civil war

Venezuela lingers near civil war

He said Trump's "off the cuff comment" on military options amounted to throwing Maduro "a lovely life preserver at a time when the growing Latin American consensus was causing fracturing within his own supporters and probably the military". "If Venezuela were attacked", the younger Maduro said, "The rifles would arrive in New York, Mr. Trump".

The ban comes as the USA considers imposing economic sanctions against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who is facing mounting worldwide criticism over a crackdown on opponents and moves to consolidate power.

Trump turned down a phone call with Nicolas Maduro on Friday and the White House said in a statement that the president would gladly speak to the Venezuelan leader when democracy was restored in the country.

President Trump on Friday refused to rule out a US military intervention in Venezuela, where civil strife has turned violent.

Despite its complicated relations with Caracas, the South American trade bloc Mercosur also said that it rejects the use of force against Venezuela, Reuters reported.

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The United States has joined Mexico, Colombia and Panama in saying that they would not recognize the voting results.

The Trump administration imposed fresh sanctions on Maduro in late July after questions about the legitimacy of an election to rewrite the country's constitution. Critics say the assembly is a bald maneuver by Maduro to cling to power as his popularity slumps under the weight of the country's economic crisis.

Peru under President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had taken the toughest stance yet toward Venezuela's socialist government, and has openly called Maduro a "dictator".

According to Suarez, the USA military option in Venezuela could be carried out under the pretext of a "humanitarian intervention". It unanimously passed a resolution to move the country's December 10 governors' election up to October. The constituted powers may in no way impede the decisions of the National Constituent Assembly.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) was asked by the assembly to set the exact date for the governors' election.

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More than 120 have been killed in unrest since April, as the economy collapses deeper into a recession compounded by triple-digit inflation as well as food and medicine shortages.

The ruling Socialist Party has for years accused the United States of plotting an invasion as a way of controlling its oil reserves, the world's largest, through a military intervention similar to the Iraq war.

It also contradicted high-level administration officials, including Trump's own national security adviser, who had warned that any perception of USA intervention would stir decades' old resentments and play into Maduro's hands.

Just a few days earlier, Peru had hosted officials from 17 Latin American nations who condemned Venezuela's abuse of power and loss of democracy. "Military Options" in Latam and the Caribbean".

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