US President Donald Trump has denied that US efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have lost momentum, telling reporters “things take time” and that he has five alternative strategies for Venezuela.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of the G20 Summit in Osaka on Saturday, Trump was asked about his earlier response to the suggestion that the US had lost momentum in Venezuela, to which he replied it “takes time.”
“Problem is so many people are leaving Venezuela, it’s, like, going to be a ghost town. It’s a very bad thing that’s happening in Venezuela, nobody has seen anything quite like it, actually,” he told reporters.
Despite other leading nations urging caution the US supported an attempted ouster of the Maduro government in January when it recognized Juan Guaido as the country’s self-declared interim president. It also supported a Guaido-led “uprising” attempt in April and continues to place sanctions on the country. Despite this, Maduro remains in power and Guaido’s support is declining.
Asked whether it was time to change strategies, the president said he had “five strategies” that he can switch to “at any moment”. “We have a lot things in store if we have to do that,” he said. “We don’t want to do anything, we don’t want to get involved to the extent you may be thinking, but we have a lot of alternatives, we have five different alternatives for Venezuela. We’ll see what happens.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News in May that “military action is possible,” in Venezuela “if that’s what’s required.”
The US efforts continue despite other nations warning against interfering. China urged the US not to go down the “same old disastrous road” in March, saying it could “allow the law of the jungle to once again run amok.”
As recently as Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin questioned the US’s actions in Venezuela in an interview with the Financial Times. Putin asked whether it was “necessary to humiliate Latin American nations” by imposing government or leaders from the outside.
“Let us do the same in Japan, the US or Germany. What will happen? Do you understand that this will cause chaos all over the world?” he said. A June poll by opposition-linked Datincorp found 36 percent of Venezuelans recognize Guaido as their head of state, down from 49 per cent in February, and 41 percent recognize Maduro as president.
Guaido’s aides were exposed as having embezzled millions of dollars in US funds meant to pay Venezuelan army defectors earlier in June. Venezuelan authorities said Wednesday they uncovered another attempted assassination plot targeting Maduro and other senior officials.
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