U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States is prepared to intervene militarily to stem the ongoing unrest in Venezuela.
"Military action is possible," the top U.S. diplomat told the Fox Business Network. "If that is what is required, that is what the United States will do."
Pompeo, however, reiterated that the U.S. would prefer a peaceful transition of power in Caracas from socialist President Nicolas Maduro to the self-declared interim president Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly, and recognized by the United States and about 50 other countries as the legitimate leader of the South American country.
Pompeo's signal that the U.S. could send troops to Venezuela drew a quick rebuke from Russia, a strong Maduro supporter.
Moscow said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Pompeo in a phone call that further "aggressive steps" by the U.S. in Venezuela would be "fraught with the most serious consequences." The Russian diplomat denounced what he said was the United States' "interference" in Venezuela's internal affairs, calling it "a gross violation of international law."
The U.S. State Department said Pompeo urged Moscow to end its involvement in Venezuela, telling Lavrov that Russian and Cuban actions there would destabilize it and could upend U.S.-Russian relations on a broader scale.
Pompeo told interviewers that Maduro, in the face of street protests against his government, was prepared to leave Venezuela for Cuba on Tuesday, but that Russia convinced him to stay to fight Guaido's call for the Venezuelan military to join him in a push to overthrow Maduro.
Maduro and the Russian Foreign Ministry denied the Maduro departure allegation, with Moscow saying the U.S.'s claim was part of its "information war" designed to demoralize the Venezuelan army and foment a coup.
Source : VOA