Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has warned the military to be on alert after reports on Wednesday had the United States planning to invade the country. President Trump supposedly was calling for the invasion with his staff.

“You cannot lower your guard for even a second, because we will defend the greatest right our homeland has had in all of its history, which is to live in peace,” Maduro said. “A military intervention on the part of the US empire will never be a solution to Venezuela’s problems.”

Maduro alluded to a report by The Associated Press that Trump had asked his aides why the US couldn’t simply invade Venezuela. According to the report, former State Secretary Rex Tillerson and ex-national security adviser H.R. McMaster took turns explaining the possible fallout.

Both officials are no longer at the White House.

The report also detailed a meeting between Trump and four Latin American leaders in which the US president raised the idea, only for it to be rejected by his counterparts. The White House has refused to confirm the report’s validity, saying it will not comment on personal conversations.

Last year, Trump told reporters that he was “not going to rule out” a military option, saying it was “certainly something that we could pursue.”

Maduro Calls For Military Exercises After Trump's Threat of Intervention

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Trump has described Maduro as a “dictator,” saying he should no longer be in power. Under Maduro, Venezuela has witnessed a significant deterioration of human rights and the erosion of democratic institutions.

More than 130 people were killed and hundreds more injured in 2017, when a Supreme Court order to strip the opposition-held National Assembly triggered months of anti-government protests. Venezuela has continued to struggle with exorbitant inflation and chronic shortages of basic supplies, including food and medicine.

With their people starving and a total meltdown of the economy, nearly a million Venezuelans have been flocking across the border into Colombia. The currency of the country is next to worthless.

In many places, the barter system is making a comeback. In one place a haircut cost five bananas and two eggs or a sack of corn flour. Water is being rationed although it is plentiful, the infrastructure has shut down.

Inflation is running at impossible levels for the government to keep up with. Medicine, food, and water are all in short supply.

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Photo courtesy Wikipedia