US preparing for possible military intervention in Venezuela, says Pompeo

Secretary of State maintains all options remain on the table 

Mike Pompeo says US preparing for possible military intervention in Venezuela

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States has a full range of options available to help oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and didn’t rule out “ultimately” using military action on top of diplomatic, political and other pressure points.

“We’re preparing those for him so that when the situation arises, we’re not flat-footed,’’ Mr Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week”, one of three scheduled appearances on Sunday morning political shows.

Mr Pompeo said on Sunday that he can’t predict when Mr Maduro will be forced out of office – whether days, weeks or months.

But Nicolas Maduro can’t feel good about his situation because while he might be ruling for the moment, he can’t govern, Mr Pompeo said.

“There’s enormous poverty, enormous starvation, sick children that can’t get medicine,” the Secretary of State said. “This is not someone who can be part of Venezuela’s future.”

The US didn’t suffer an intelligence failure this week about the prospects of Venezuelan opposition Juan Guaido successfully leading an uprising to oust Maduro, Mr Pompeo said on ABC.

“These things sometimes take time,” he said on Fox News Sunday.

Mr Pompeo said Maduro wouldn’t be in power without assistance from Cuba, and he also dismissed the idea that President Donald Trump is out of step with his own advisers on the role Russia is playing in supporting Maduro in Venezuela.

Donald Trump on Friday said Russian President Vladimir Putin assured him he isn’t seeking to “get involved” in the crisis, although Mr Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton both said earlier in the week that the Kremlin talked Mr Maduro out of leaving Venezuela after US-backed Guaido attempted to end his regime by calling for a military uprising.

“The president has made clear, we want everyone out, and that includes the Russians,” Mr Pompeo said.

Mr Guaido on Saturday told The Washington Post he cannot rule out the option of the US military working with his nation’s armed forces.

Such an offer from the Trump administration would have to be voted on in the Venezuelan parliament, he said.

Mr Pompeo, Mr Bolton and other top national security officials were briefed on Friday on potential military options for the US.

Asked on Sunday whether military action would require approval from Congress, Mr Pompeo said he didn’t want to speak to that but added “I’m very confident that any action we took in Venezuela would be lawful”.

Bloomberg

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