On Sunday Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told United States VP Mike Pence that he and other Latin American countries will not abide by President Donald Trump’s threat to use military action in Venezuela.
Pence, speaking at a joint news conference with Santos in Cartagena, didn’t rule out using military force, but kept his comments vague, not mentioning using force at all. Instead, he told Santos that the US would much prefer what he called a “peaceable” solution for Venezuela.
He said there are many options available to pressure the Maduro regime in Venezuela, including increasing economic and diplomatic pressure. Pence assured Santos that the U.S. will not stand by as Venezuela “crumbles” and slides into a dictatorship.
He said a failed state in Venezuela endangers the entire continent. Pence said Trump sent him to Latin America to marshal and consolidate regional support for the need to help the Venezuelan people.
Santos said no Latin America country would accept any form of U.S. military intervention in Venezuela and that it should never even be considered. Recalling more than a century of U.S. military action throughout Latin America, Santos said no Latin leader wants “that phantom” to reappear.
Santos said an illegal constituent assembly is killing democratic institutions in Venezuela, but while they supported US measures to pressure the government of Venezuela, they welcome peaceful solutions.
Trump imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan government and said that the US military was on the table as the situation there was a “dangerous mess”.
Pence is on a week-long tour of four Latin American countries. After his visit to Colombia which included talks with Santos on the peace accord with FARC and cocaine trafficking, the VP will make stops in Chile, Argentina, and Panama.
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