National Security Adviser John R. Bolton said Wednesday that while the Trump administration still wants a “peaceful transfer of power” in Venezuela, U.S. military forces are “ready to go” into the South American nation at a moment’s notice.
“There are a lot of options underway,” Mr. Bolton said, asserting that the situation is being closely monitored by the Pentagon, including by Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which would oversee any potential U.S. military operation in Venezuela.
“[Adm. Faller] said we’re on the balls of our feet ready to go,” Mr. Bolton said during an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Wednesday morning. “That’s the kind of attitude we need.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted Wednesday morning during an appearance on Fox Business Network that President Trump “has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent: ‘Military action is possible.’”
Adm. Faller called on the Venezuelan military forces “to do the right thing.” He sent a message to soldiers who are standing behind Mr. Maduro that his “brutal dictatorship … has led to this man-made crisis. Cuba and Russia have invaded your country and disgraced your sovereignty.”
“Propagandists and the international left would love people to believe that this is Yankee imperialism alive again,” Mr. Bolton said, arguing that what’s really happening is “the people of Latin America [are] saying we want the people of Venezuela to have the same freedom we do.”
"While Bolton argued that "the United States was not directly involved" in Tuesday's unrest, he repeated his claim that Guaidó's move was made with the knowledge that three of Maduro's top officials—Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maikel Moreno and Presidential Guard Commander Hernandez Dala—had agreed to defect. As of Wednesday, none of these men were known to have switched sides, and the first two have continued to publicly defend Maduro's legitimacy"
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called the U.S. version of events "fake" and part of an "information war" being waged against Washington's opponents abroad. That same day, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel tweeted that there were "no Cuban military operations or troops in #Venezuela," while rejecting the "threat by Trump of full and complete embargo against #Cuba."From earlier this week:
Díaz-Canel called "upon the international community to stop dangerous and aggressive escalation and to preserve Peace" and emphasized, "No more lies." Maduro himself also dismissed Pompeo's "lies and manipulation" during a televised address later Tuesday.