WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump threatened to take “military action” against Venezuela Friday, a comment that is sure to roil the divided South American nation and alarm its neighbors.
Trump made the statement during a press conference on the growing concerns of military action in North Korea, immediately raising the specter of United States intervening in two conflicts simultaneously, including one in our own hemisphere.
“Venezuela is a mess,” Trump said, adding. “This is our neighbor. We’re all over the world and we have troops all over the world that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering. And they’re dying.”
The provocative comments come as Washington has stepped up sanctions against Venezuelan officials in recent weeks and just a day after President Nicolás Maduro said he wanted to talk to Trump to overcome both nation’s differences.
Trump was surrounded by several members of his cabinet, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and National Security Council Advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster.
“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump said.
They were the strongest words delivered by Trump since the administration called him a dictator and froze his assets following the July 30 vote in Venezuela that will allow a new constituent assembly to change the Venezuelan constitution and strip current lawmakers of power.
Photo credit: Juan Carlos Hernandez, Associated Press