Attacking Venezuela Is 'Certainly Something We Could Pursue'

Iran Blasts US Meddling in Venezuela's Internal Affairs

Pence to begin Latin America tour as global crises grow

Trump's statement about not to "rule out" a military option in Venezuela was a "violation" of United Nations and worldwide laws, Xinhua quoted Arreaza as saying.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Saturday slammed the "warmongering" declarations of the US President Donald Trump as "threats to peace".

Apart from being rejected by the government in Caracas, the statement was also rejected by all Latin American countries - not only allies to President Nicolas Maduro such as Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, but even those strongly opposed to Maduro, including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile.

The menace, however, also gave Maduro's regime an unexpected opportunity to substantiate its daily refrain that it is a victim of a Washington plot to grab control of its oil reserves, the biggest in the world.

Trump's saber-rattling has instead boosted Maduro's claim that American aggression is behind all of Venezuela's problems and that opposition leaders are puppets of the US and has even made some of the dictator's strongest detractors criticize Trump.

"We want to express gratitude for all the expressions of solidarity and rejection of the use of force from governments around the world, including Latin America", she said in a short speech.

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This is Pence's first visit to South America, although he has previously talked with the four leaders, either in person, such as at the White House, or by phone. "Venezuela is not very far away", he said. It is an attack on the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people.

The dramatic escalation in rhetoric seemed to upend carefully crafted USA policy that has stressed working with regional partners to increase pressure on Maduro.

The Trump administration must also work to convince the European Union to sanction significantly more members of the Maduro government, many of whom have family members living overseas in luxury after stealing hundreds of billions of dollars from the Venezuelan treasury, because "broader sanctions could help splinter Maduro's support and encourage a transition away from dictatorship".

Analysts say Pence will have his hands full in trying to gain political leverage in the region.

"It is one thing for the US president or vice president to discuss sanctioning the regime and our support for the return of democracy", said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes announced that Brazil does not support military intervention in Venezuela.

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