United States President Donald Trump yesterday warned that his country could impose "a lot tougher" sanctions on Venezuela as he urged the country's military to depose leftist leader Nicolas Maduro.
In a joint news conference with Brazil's new right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, an avowed opponent of socialism, Trump declined to predict a time-frame for the fall of Maduro.
Here are the details.
Maduro still enjoying power despite opposition by US, Latin America
Maduro has clung to his post for nearly two months since the US and Latin American powers declared him illegitimate.
"We haven't done the toughest sanctions yet," said the US president.
"We've done, I would say, right down the middle, but we can go a lot tougher if we need to do that," he further said.
Trump called the situation in Venezuela a 'disgrace'.
What is happening in Venezuela is a disgrace, said Trump
"What is happening there is a disgrace. This was one of the wealthiest countries in the world and all of a sudden, it is grief-stricken, poverty-stricken, no food, no water, no air-conditioning, no anything," Trump said.
He also renewed his call on Venezuelan security forces to desert Maduro, who still enjoys the support from the leadership of the military.
Spoken to Trump about allowing US military in Brazil: Bolsonaro
"We call on members of the Venezuelan military to end their support for Maduro, who is really nothing more than a Cuban puppet," said Trump.
Bolsonaro, an outspoken foe of leftist ideology, said he had spoken to Trump about allowing the US military to position itself in Brazil near the Venezuelan border.
Trump has repeatedly said that "all options" are open on Venezuela.
Brazil will be ready to take democracy to Venezuela: Bolsonaro
Even though Latin American and European allies have broadly warned against the use of force, Brazil expressed its willingness to help the US to take down the situation in Venezuela.
"Brazil will be more than willing and ready to fulfill this mission and take freedom and democracy to that country," Bolsonaro said.
The US has already imposed a wide range of sanctions on Venezuela.
Embargo on Venezuela looks like the one imposed on Cuba
The sanctions include the key step of cutting off the regime from revenue of its state oil company, which counts on the US as a key market through operator Citgo.
A sweeping embargo on Venezuela, of the sort imposed for half a century by the US against communist Cuba, is seen as unlikely to gain wide support in Latin America, despite frustration with Maduro.