Russia: Military Invasion among US Options against Venezuela Government
By Staff, News Agencies
Russia has warned that the United States is considering a range of options against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, including a direct military invasion of the Latin American country, which has been engulfed in political unrest over the past weeks.
"There are still signs coming from Washington about the possibility of using force in order to overthrow the legal authorities, including through direct military invasion,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a weekly briefing in Moscow on Thursday. “This is actually being spoken about openly in the White House.”
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have thronged the streets of Venezuela, holding rallies in support and against Maduro, who began his second six-year term in office last month.
The clashes began after Juan Guaido, the opposition leader in the country’s National Assembly, proclaimed himself as “interim president” and urged Maduro to resign.
The US rushed to support Guaido, announcing sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry. Other US officials have also doubled down on the possibility of military action, reiterating President Donald Trump’s stance that “all options are on the table.”
In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Trump said military action against Maduro remained “an option.”
Zakharova said Thursday that Washington had already made up its mind about a military action and “everything else is nothing more than a covering operation.” The Russian diplomat said such threats violated the Charter of the United Nations.
She criticized American officials for threatening Caracas with more economic sanctions while calling on the military to defect the legal government of Maduro.
"Washington has turned to direct threats of sanctions to the Venezuelan military, which remains loyal to the legitimate government. That is just a different, new reading of the 'carrot and stick' approach. On the one hand, they threaten a potential punishment. On the other hand, they promise a potential reward", Zakharova noted.
“I would like to recall that this kind of statement from the mouth of American officials is a direct violation of Article 2 Par. 4 of the UN Charter, ordering all UN members to refrain from the threat or use of force in international relations", she said at the briefing.
On Wednesday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Washington was ready to exempt Venezuelan military commanders from sanctions if they joined Guaido.
Earlier, he had called on Venezuela’s military forces and other government officials to use Guaido’s “amnesty” and pledge allegiance to him.
Guaido has been in talks with military officials in Venezuela to convince them to defect. He has published an open letter, calling on the military to withdraw their support from Maduro.
Venezuelan authorities said Wednesday they had seized a large shipment of US-made weapons aboard a cargo plane that had taken off from Miami, Florida.
On Thursday, ministers from over a dozen European and Latin American countries called for "free, transparent and credible presidential elections" in Venezuela to resolve the ongoing crisis.
The International Contact Group (GCI) said all sides needed to find a "peaceful, democratic" way out of the situation "without the use of force."
Besides the US, other major Western powers such as the UK, France, Spain and Germany have recognized Guaido as president.
Russia, China, Iran and Turkey are some of the countries that have thrown their support behind Maduro.