Venezuela expected to dominate Pence’s Latin American trip


WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence’s visit Latin America comes amid unrest in Venezuela and concern by its neighbors about a possible American military role.

Pence planned to meet with Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, later Sunday at the start of a weeklong trip likely to be dominated by conversations about the crisis in Venezuela. The United States accuses Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of a power grab that has sparked deadly protests and condemnation across the region.

President Donald Trump on Friday said he would not rule out a “military option” in response to Maduro’s moves.

That statement drew quick condemnation, including from the Colombian Foreign Ministry, which opposed any “military measures and the use of force,” and said efforts to resolve Venezuela’s breakdown in democracy should be peaceful and respect its sovereignty.

But Trump’s national security adviser said the Trump administration wants to get a handle on the current situation under Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s embattled government and “understand better how this crisis might evolve.”

The U.S. has imposed sanctions against Maduro and more than two-dozen current and former officials in response to a crackdown on opposition leaders and the recent election of a pro-government assembly given the job of rewriting the country’s constitution.

“When you look at contingencies, when you look at what if — what if the suffering of the Venezuelan people increases by orders of magnitude — what more can we do with our partners in the region to protect the Venezuelan people and prevent an even greater humanitarian catastrophe?” McMaster told ABC’s “This Week.”

“The president never takes options off the table in any of these situations and what we owe him are options,” he said.

McMaster said the U.S. would “continue a series of actions against the Maduro regime which aim to strengthen the opposition and to reach out to those …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

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