Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated Wednesday that US may take military action against the government of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.
“The President has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent. Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do,” Pompeo said on Fox Business Network. “We’re trying to do everything we can to avoid violence. We’ve asked all the parties involved not to engage in the kind of activity. We’d prefer a peaceful transition of government there, where Maduro leaves and a new election is held. But the President has made clear, in the event that there comes a moment — and we’ll all have to make decisions about when that moment is — and the President will have to ultimately make that decision. He is prepared to do that if that’s what’s required.”
This is while the Pentagon has downplayed the possibility of war on Venezuela by announcing n prepraration has been planned.
“We, of course, always review available options and plan for contingencies… But in this case we have not been given (the) sort of orders that you’re discussing, no,” Kathryn Wheelbarger, the acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs told the House Armed Services Committee.
US Navy Admiral Craig Faller, the commander of US Southern Command, also expressed support for diplomacy.
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“Our leadership’s been clear: It has to be, should be, primarily a democratic transition… We are in total support of the diplomacy and we stand ready to support that effort,” he said.
The administration of US President Donald Trump, which immediately recognized Guaido’s self-proclamation, has since been mounting economic pressure on Caracas and has repeatedly threatened to use military force to topple Maduro’s government.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, meanwhile, suggested that the US is in the dark when it comes to the situation in Venezuela.
“The situation is a little bit unclear today from our perspective between Maduro and Guaido,” he said, referring to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.”We are doing what we can now to collect intelligence and make sure we have good visibility on what is happening down in Venezuela and also be prepared to support the President should he require more from the US military.”