Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made clear that the U.S. government is prepared to support Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido in a multitude of ways, leaving open the possibility of military intervention.
“Oh, make no mistake, we have a full range of options that we’re preparing for,” Pompeo said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” after host Jonathan Karl asked if U.S. military invasion of Venezuela was on the table.
“That’s part of what we were doing on Friday was making sure that when this progresses and a different situation arises, that the president has a full-scale set of options: diplomatic options, political options, options with our allies, and then ultimately a set of options that would involve use of U.S. military,” the secretary of state continued Sunday. “We’re preparing those for him so that when the situation arises, we’re not flat-footed.”
The comments came after Guaido’s bid to oust dictatorial President Nicolas Maduro fell short.
Guaido held secret talks between high-ranking officials and revolutionaries within Maduro’s regime in hopes of peacefully removing him from power and installing an interim government. Those negotiations, however, were either sabotaged or broke down on their own, leading the opposition leader to call upon the Venezuelan military to intervene. Guaido’s calls resulted in mass anti-Maduro protests, but the country’s military ultimately remained loyal to the socialist president.
The U.S. government has maintained its support for Guaido, along with 53 other countries that recognize him as the legitimate leader of Venezuela. Maduro’s regime, on the other hand, is supported by the Chinese, Cuban and Russian governments.
“Without the Cubans, there would be no possibility he was still in power. They are — they are the center of this,” Pompeo said, adding that President Donald Trump has made it clear that “the Russians must go” as well.
It has been reported Maduro was prepared to flee to Cuba, but was encouraged by Russia to stay put.
When questioned if Trump can intervene militarily without congressional approval, the secretary of state said he was “very confident” any moves the U.S. makes would be lawful.
“The president has his full range of Article 2 authorities, and I am very confident that any action we took in Venezuela would be lawful,” Pompeo said.
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