Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Venezuelan Defense Minister Calls Trump's Military Action Warning 'Crazy Act'

Trump threatens military option in Venezuela Venezuelan Defense Minister Calls Trump's Military Action Warning 'Crazy Act'
Wilma Wheeler | 14 August, 2017, 01:05

His arrest was ordered by the government-stacked Supreme Court less than 48 hours after it levied a similar sentence against Ramon Muchacho, another Caracas-area mayor.

Now many fear Trump's remarks will bolster Maduro's claim that he is the target of a US -backed coup attempt and further distract attention from Venezuela's crushing economic problems. Maduro to consolidate power in the country. "Maduro could not have asked for a greater gift from Trump".

Since starting work, the assembly - ostensibly tasked with rewriting the constitution - has fired Venezuela's attorney general who had become a major critic of Maduro, and stepped up measures to quash opposition politicians. Marches against Maduro were held in Caracas on Saturday, with few confrontations with state security forces and no deaths.

They were supposed to take place past year but were delayed twice.

Opposition parties swallowed a tough pill this week and met a deadline to enroll candidates despite widespread mistrust in electoral authorities.

These two very different responses to the convening of the National Constituent assembly demonstrate the divisions and current rudderless nature of the opposition in Venezuela.

On Friday it refused to ratify the lone opposition member on the electoral board after he refused to show up and swear obedience to the constitutional assembly.

South American trading bloc Mercosur has spoken against Mr. Trump's latest comments on the Venezuela situation.

"The repudiation of violence and whatever option involving the use of force is resolute and constitutes a fundamental basis of democratic cohabitation, both in domestic contexts as well as in worldwide relations", Brazil's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Venezuela was suspended indefinitely from Mercosur last week. Trump said during a brief news conference Friday at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Also Saturday, Peru said "any attempted use of force, whether it's external or internal, undermines the objective of restoring democracy ... to Venezuela".

"We know for a fact that the U.S.is not willing to invade Venezuela", Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Latin America policy analyst at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, said in a phone interview with NBC News.

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters about a possible military action in Venezuela.

President Donald Trump on Friday said he would not rule out a "military option" in Venezuela.

Venezuela's defense minister says that security forces have captured the mastermind of a failed assault on a military base a week ago. The sanctions include the freezing of assets and a ban from entering the US.

Calling Trump the "boss of the empire", Arreaza said Trump's latest comments fit a pattern of aggression against Venezuelan sovereignty and constitute a violation of global law and the United Nations charter.

"It's hard to imagine a worse time for Trump to make this threat", David Smilde, a senior fellow with the Washington Office on Latin America, said in a statement.

Several Venezuelans also dismissed Trump's words as "imperial interference". Venezuela can still count on support from leftist allies Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, as well as a handful of Caribbean nations that depend on it for cheap or free oil.

Even before Mr. Trump's remarks, the government's crackdown on dissenters was gaining steam.

The United States and Venezuela have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010.

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