Currently the United States is looking to seize gasoline aboard the next group of Iranian tankers bound for Venezuela, after the last delivery by five sanctions-busting tankers last month were successful despite being accompanied by similar US threats.
President Trump on Friday signaled the US is indeed about to “move” on Venezuela and its sanctions thwarting activities with the help of ‘rogue states’ like Iran. He told the Spanish-language American channel Noticias Telemundo on Friday that—
“Something will be happening with Venezuela” and that the United States will “be very much involved.”
The president was also asked about the future of election in the country, especially related to US-backed opposition leader and self-styled ‘Interim President’ Juan Guaido.
Trump said the US would “take care of the people of Venezuela” and ultimately support whoever was legitimately elected. But of course, it remains that the US deems any support to Nicolas Maduro by definition “illegitimate”.
The interviewer, Jose Diaz-Balart, asked Trump point-blank: “For you, Venezuela, is it Guaido, is it Maduro, is it U.S. intervention?”
Trump said in response:
“It’s freedom for their people. It’s freedom. Venezuela was a rich country 15 years ago, and it’s been destroyed by two people, but a system, a horrible system. … And something will happen with Venezuela. That’s all I can tell you. Something will be happening with Venezuela.”
And when pressed over precisely through what route this “something big” will occur in Venezuela, Trump responded:
“We’ll be very much involved.”
“We’re going to take care of the people of Venezuela,” Trump emphasized.
Since last year the president has reportedly been pressing his generals and admirals on enacting some kind of naval blockade off Venezuela’s coast.
However, top Pentagon leadership has reportedly been by and large against the idea, citing the impracticability of such an operation, and likelihood of unnecessary escalation without clear overall goals of how far US military force would be willing to go against pro-Maduro forces.
Washington reportedly does have naval ships in the Caribbean Sea, however, to crack down on what the White House previously described as Maduro’s “narco-trafficking” as well as illegal sanctions-busting activities.