Tuesday 22 October 2019

'You will lose everything' - US president warns Venezuela military

Defiant: President Nicolas Maduro is refusing to stand down in Venezuela despite international pressure and domestic opposition. Photo: REUTERS
Defiant: President Nicolas Maduro is refusing to stand down in Venezuela despite international pressure and domestic opposition. Photo: REUTERS

Zeke Miller in Washington

US president Donald Trump has warned Venezuela's military of repercussions if it continues to stand with President Nicolas Maduro's government.

"You will find no safe harbour, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything," he said in a speech at Florida International University in Miami. He added: "We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open."

The Venezuelan military could play a decisive role in the stalemate between the president and opposition leader Juan Guaido but has largely remained loyal to Mr Maduro.

In remarks broadcast on state television, Mr Maduro accused Mr Trump of speaking in an "almost Nazi style" and lashed out at his counterpart for thinking he can deliver orders to Venezuela's military.

"Who is the commander of the armed forces, Donald Trump from Miami?" he said. "They think they're the owners of the country."

Mr Trump said "a new day is coming in Latin America," as he sought to rally support among the largest Venezuelan community in the US for Mr Guaido.

The US recognises him as the country's rightful president and condemns Mr Maduro's government and its socialist policies.

Venezuelan troops have blocked the US from moving tonnes of humanitarian aid airlifted in recent days to the Colombia-Venezuela border.

The power struggle is heading for a potentially violent showdown on Saturday when Mr Guaido will try to run caravans of US humanitarian aid in from Colombia.

Mr Maduro denies a humanitarian crisis exists, blaming the Trump administration for mounting a coup against him.

He has support from Russia, China and Turkey. Mr Guaido is backed by leaders in Latin America and Europe, who are demanding that Mr Maduro holds elections or steps down.

Irish Independent

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