Despite insisting that he wants to meet with President Donald Trump and hold talks with him, Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro called for the military to hold exercises to counter the threat of armed intervention by the United States.

Trump’s proclamation that the country is going to “collapse into dictatorship”, has Maduro trying to rally support for a Yankee “imperialist invasion.” Vice President Mike Pence was in Caracas trying to allay fears and do damage control, promising a peaceful solution to Venezuela’s collapse.

The unpopular Maduro, struggling with a disintegrating economy at home and increasing diplomatic isolation abroad, has used Trump’s comments on Friday to reaffirm long-standing accusations that Washington is preparing a military attack.

“Everyone has to join the defense plan, millions of men and women, let’s see how the American imperialists like it,” Maduro told supporters, urging them to join the two-day operation on Aug 26 and 27 involving both soldiers and civilians.

Thousands of government supporters rallied in Caracas where they denounced Trump’s suggestion of a “military option” to resolve Venezuela’s crisis.

Trying to deflect the nation’s problems off of a series of disastrous socialist policies, Maduro played the Yankee card, trying to blame Trump and the US for the economic collapse of the Venezuelan economy. Once the richest nation in Latin America, now it is one of the poorest with thousands of people starving and fleeing for neighboring countries.

Two days ago Maduro appeared in front of a sign that read, “Fuera Trump de America Latina” which translates to “Trump go away from Latin America.”

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