President Donald Trump suggested this evening that U.S. military intervention in Venezuela as a possibility as his government considers options for tackling the ongoing crisis in the country. Trump made the suggestion while speaking to reporters at his golf course in New Jersey.
Venezuela is not very far away, and the people are suffering and they’re dying (…) We have many options for Venezuela, including a possibility military option if necessary.
Trump refused to give details of what a U.S. military intervention would look like, but stressed that such a move was not out of the question for his administration:
But a military operation, a military option is certainly something that we could pursue.
The comments are in line with similarly vague threats Trump has made recently, like those he has direct at North Korea in recent days.
Trump’s comments come at an awkward time for Maduro, who just yesterday told the Constituent Assembly that he wanted to restore diplomatic relations with the United States and build a relationship with Trump that is based on “respect and equality”.
Minister of Defense Announces Arrest of Fuerte Paramacay Attackers
Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez announced this evening that the men responsible for planning and organizing the attack on the Fuerte Paramacay military base in Valencia, Carabobo state have been arrested. The attack, which took place last week, sparked fears that a military coup was underway in Venezuela.
Padrino Lopez made the announcement through a series of tweets in which he specified that the leader of the attack, a former National Guard captain by the name of Juan Caguaripano, was among those arrested.
Peru Expels Venezuelan Ambassador in Lima
The Peruvian government has expelled the Venezuelan ambassador to that country, Diego Alfredo Molero Bellavia, over what Peru considers to be the installation of an authoritarian dictatorship in Venezuela via the Constituent Assembly.
Peru has given Molero five days to leave the country.
The move comes just three days after a dozen Latin American countries signed onto the Lima Declaration, a document which denounced the Maduro regime’s dictatorial turn and pledged support to Venezuela’s National Assembly.
He should leave [power] (…) he’s carried out a coup d’etat with a fraudulent election in order to eliminate parliament and replace it with a so-called Constituent Assembly. There are lots of [opposition] people in jail.
On the possibility of meeting Maduro, Kyczynski said:
I will not meet Mr. Maduro. I’m sorry.
Number of Political Prisoners Jumps to 676
The Foro Penal Venezolano [Venezuelan Penal Forum] (FPV),a local NGO that provides legal assistance to political prisoners, announced today that the number of people languishing in Venezuelan jails simply for opposing the Maduro regime is now 676. That figure is up from 620, which was the count of political prisoners in Venezuela on August 2.
The head of the FPV, Alfredo Romero, announced through his Twitter account this morning that the list of all 676 political prisoners has been forwarded to the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro.
Luisa Ortega Diaz Says She Fears for Her Life
Former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz told Reuters yesterday that she fears for her life and that she will nevertheless continue to fight for democracy in Venezuela.
Ortega Diaz also told the news agency that she jumps between safe houses at least one a day in an attempt to avoid the regime’s security forces. Although Ortega Diaz has not been charged with any crimes, the nature of the Maduro regime is such that she–along with any other political opponent–could find themselves in a jail cell at any moment. Ortega Diaz said:
I do not know what dark intentions and dark plans they may have, not only to deprive me of my freedom, but also deprive me of my life.
Appointed attorney general by Hugo Chavez in 2007, Ortega Diaz was unceremoniously removed from her position on Saturday following months of vocal opposition to Maduro’s dictatorial turn.
Constituent Assembly Considers Pushing Regional Elections Up to October
The Constituent Assembly is considering moving the regional elections that are currently scheduled to take place in December up to October in a surprise move the motivations for which are unclear. The motion to consider shifting the election date was presented this afternoon by Constituent Assembly deputy Earle Herrera.
Constituent Assembly president Delcy Rodriguez said that the motion would be considered over the next few days.
The regional elections for the country’s mayors, governors and state legislators were originally scheduled to take place in December of last year, but they were postponed for no reason by the Consejo Nacional Electoral back in October.
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