Trump Rules Out Talks With Venezuela's Maduro Until 'Democracy Restored'

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 13, 2017

Speaking to reporters at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, Trump bemoaned the country's growing humanitarian crisis and declared that all options remain on the table - including a potential military intervention.

Responding to Trump, Padrino told state television, "It is an act of craziness". And a Department of Defense spokesman said that "any insinuations by the Maduro regime that we are planning an invasion are baseless" - ignoring that it was Trump who had done the insinuating.

General Vladimir Padrino, a close ally of Maduro, said: "With this extremist elite that's in charge in the United States, who knows what will happen to the world?" "But I support peace, I support safety and I support having to get very tough if we have to to protect the American people and also to protect our allies", Trump said.

On Thursday, Maduro had said he wants to meet with Trump and instructed his foreign minister to try to arrange a telephone conversation with the US president.

The White House said that since he took office Trump has been pressing Maduro to respect his country's constitution, hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners and halt human rights violations and oppression.

Pence was expected to meet with the four countries' leaders, deliver a major speech on US-Latin American relations, tour the newly expanded Panama Canal and discuss the situation in Venezuela.

On July 31 the United States imposed legal and financial sanctions against the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, describing as a "dictator".

"No. Congress obviously isn't authorizing war in Venezuela", Sasse said in a statement late Friday. But it's unclear why he's weighing the same option for Venezuela.

Venezuela is facing a severe economic and political crisis after almost two decades of socialism, recently exacerbated by the Socialist Party's (PSUV) attempt to replace the democratically-elected National Assembly with a legislature comprised of hand-picked Maduro supporters.

Ben Sasse, a senator from Nebraska and a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, criticized the new position of the President on the Venezuelan crisis.

The country is deep in a recession compounded by shortages of food and medicine, while anti-government protests have killed more than 120 people since April.

"Instead, Maduro chose the path of dictatorship", Trump added.

The 545-member assembly, which has the rights to amend the constitution and reorganize the government, "aims to fix the malfunction" plaguing the country's governing system, according to Delcy Rodriguez, the recently elected president of the new legislative body.

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