Trump's threat to Venezuela is aggression to Latin America, says analyst — Interview

Russian oil major to stick with Venezuela despite crisis

Russian oil major to stick with Venezuela despite crisis

Opposition leaders called instead for an early presidential election, which Maduro would likely lose as his popularity gets pummeled by the country's economic woes.

The Pentagon said after Trump's words that it had not received any order on Venezuela from the White House. "Nicolas Maduro is a awful human being, but Congress doesn't vote to spill Nebraskans' blood based on who the Executive lashes out at today".

Amid the mounting tensions there has been no statement from the main opposition alliance or its leaders.

Not even the frustration over Trump's decision to partially roll back Obama's opening to Cuba - a diplomatic thaw that was applauded across the region's political spectrum - or his constant talk of building a border wall to keep out immigrants got in the way of presenting a united front toward Maduro. Marches against Maduro were held in Caracas on Saturday, with few confrontations with state security forces and no deaths.

They were supposed to take place past year but were delayed twice.

Sanctions so far against individual Venezuelans are punitive but do not impact the overall Venezuelan economy, Monaldi said during the conference call, but future sanctions could be more onerous.

On Saturday the nations of Mercosur, which includes Brazil and Argentina, issued a statement saying "the only acceptable means of promoting democracy are dialogue and diplomacy" and repudiating "violence and any option that implies the use of force".

"Mind your own business and solve your own problems, Mr. Trump!" thundered Maduro's son, also named Nicolas, at the country's new constituent assembly, which was elected last month to re-write the constitution. Last week the bloc suspended Venezuela indefinitely for failing to uphold democratic norms.

Hidalgo also said Trump's comments play into Maduro's hands amid the unrest in the Venezuela, because the regime "desperately needs a scapegoat, desperately needs a foreign enemy".

"The repudiation of violence and whatever option involving the use of force is resolute and constitutes a fundamental basis of democratic cohabitation, both in domestic contexts as well as in worldwide relations", Brazil's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"It's important for us to place responsibility for this catastrophe on (Venezuelan President Nicolas) Maduro's shoulders", McMaster said in an interview with MSNBC, an American television network.

"This U.S. administration has a deep inclination to militarism and that simply has to be denounced", he said.

However, a senior US official who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Reuters news agency the Pentagon is unaware of any coming military action in Venezuela.

Peru said on Friday it was expelling Venezuela's ambassador to Peru to protest the country's recent formation of an all-powerful constituent assembly that has been widely condemned as a power grab by socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Saturday said that Trump's comments threatened peace and stability in his country. There are a small number of USA military personnel in Venezuela, primarily Marines guards at the Embassy.

Calling Trump the "boss of the empire", Arreaza said Trump's latest comments fit a pattern of aggression against Venezuelan sovereignty and constitute a violation of global law and the United Nations charter.

Arreaza accused Washington of seeking to destabilize and divide Latin America and the Caribbean. "Maduro could not have asked for a greater gift from Trump".

Trump said on Friday, "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary". Venezuela responded by ordering the charge d'affaires at the Peruvian embassy in Caracas to leave the country within five days.

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