Military intervention 'an option' in Venezuela, says Trump
US President Donald Trump yesterday said military intervention in Venezuela was "an option", as Western countries are building pressure on socialist leader Nicolas Maduro to step down and hand over power to opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido.
The US, which recognized Guaido as interim president on January 23, is leading a global campaign to drive Maduro from office.
Guaido calls Maduro's re-election held last May invalid
Venezuelan citizens and leaders across the world accuse Maduro of being an authoritarian ruler.
When asked if the US would send its force in the crisis-wracked Venezuela, Trump said, "Well, I don't want to say that. But certainly, it's an option."
Meanwhile, Guaido says the Constitution allows him to serve as interim president as Maduro's re-election last May was invalid.
Venezuela has gone into economic crisis under Maduro's leadership
The US President has repeatedly warned that "all options are on the table" in Venezuela, as US ramps up the pressure on Maduro through economic sanctions and appeals to the country's armed forces to switch allegiances.
Under Maduro's leadership, Venezuela has gone into an economic crisis that has left the country suffering from hyperinflation and food and medicine shortages.
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Maduro requested a meeting but I 'turned it down': Trump
Maduro, on the other hand, refuses to let aid into Venezuela, claiming that it would precede a US-led military intervention.
Trump also said Maduro had requested a meeting with him a few months ago but he "turned it down".
He said that the US will not negotiate with the Maduro regime "because so many really horrible things have been happening in Venezuela".
Now you see only crime, anguish, poverty in Venezuela: Trump
Over his decision to not negotiate, Trump said, "That was the wealthiest country of all in that part of the world. And now you look at the poverty.. the anguish...the crime and all the things happening in Venezuela."
The US President's comments came as the Sunday deadline approached for an ultimatum from many European countries who wants Maduro's government to call new presidential elections.
President Juan Guaido
US President Donald Trump