After months of attacking Venezuela’s unpopular President Nicolas Maduro, Latin America came out strongly against US threats of military action against the struggling Opec nation.
US President Donald Trump’s surprise comments on Friday may give beleaguered leftist leader Maduro a regional boost, just as Venezuela was on verge of becoming a pariah.
Following Trump’s comment on Friday that military intervention in Venezuela was an option, Maduro’s critics are caught between backing the idea of a foreign invasion of Venezuela or supporting a president they call a dictator.
The surprise escalation of Washington’s response to Venezuela’s crisis came as US Vice President Mike Pence was set to begin a regional trip on Sunday that will bring him to Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Panama.
Venezela’s powerful Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino on Friday disparaged US threats as “craziness” and Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said yesterday Venezuela rejected “hostile” threats, calling on Latin America to unite against Washington.
“We want to express gratitude for all the expressions of solidarity and rejection of the use of force from governments around the world, including Latin America,” said Arreaza, in a short speech yesterday.
“Some of these countries have recently taken positions absolutely contrary to our sovereignty and independence but still have rejected the declarations of the US president.”
It was one of Maduro’s fiercest critics, Peru, that led the charge slamming Trump, saying his threat was against UN principles. Mexico and Colombia joined in with statements of their own.
Regional alliance Mercosur added that it rejected the use of force against Venezuela, despite having indefinitely suspended the country last week.
Peru is negotiating a written response with other nations in the region, Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna said in a statement sent exclusively to Reuters yesterday. The statement came the day after Peru expelled Venezuela’s ambassador in Lima.
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