By Jon Dougherty
As the chaotic situation on the ground in Venezuela continued to deteriorate over the weekend following a U.S. attempt to deliver aid, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted that American military intervention could be in the offing as he warned that President Nicolas Maduro’s “days are numbered.”
Pompeo’s warning comes as the nation’s top diplomat reaffirmed Washington’s support for self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido.
The former CIA director discussed the prospect of military action against Caracas on “Fox News Sunday,” saying that”every option” is on the tableÂ toward making sure that the Maduro regime does not endure much longer.
Denouncing Maduro as a â€œsick tyrant,â€Â Pompeo said in hisÂ Sunday morning remarks, “Weâ€™re very hopeful in the days and weeks and months ahead the Maduro regime will understand thatÂ the Venezuelan people have made its days numbered.”
Pompeo’s thinly veiled threat comes as Guaido announced he would attendÂ a summit of the Lima Group, aÂ meeting of 12 South and Central American states which have formally recognized him Venezuela’s “legitimate” leader.
Importantly, GuaidoÂ will meet with Vice President Mike Pence at the upcoming summit where he is expected to â€œpropose formallyÂ to the international community that we shouldÂ keep open all options for the liberation of our homeland, which is fighting andÂ will continue to fight,â€Â according to aÂ tweeted statementÂ Saturday.
Para avanzar en nuestra ruta, me reuniré el día lunes con nuestros aliados de la comunidad internacional, y seguiremos ordenando próximas acciones a lo interno del país. La presión interna y externa son fundamentales para la liberación.
¡La esperanza nació para no morir!
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) February 24, 2019
Since Friday evening, Guaido has been addressing Venezuela’s opposition from neighboring Colombia, where he personally attempted to oversee an aid shipment from the U.S. make its way into his country. The attempt was thwarted by loyalists to Maduro, however, and the aid shipment was destroyed.
Meanwhile, GuaidoÂ has been repeating previous calls for Venezuelan military members to defect, especially high-ranking officers charged with corruption, promising them a general “amnesty” in exchange for their backing.
The appeals are not having much success, however, as just a handful of border guards defected to Colombia over the weekend thus far. There have been clashes at multiple border crossings and bridges leftÂ at least four people dead and scores wounded, reports have noted.
The U.S. has criticized the violence, laying the blame squarely on Maduro whom U.S. leaders have called a “thug” and “sick tyrant.”
The Maduro government sees AmericanÂ “humanitarian aid” missions, which increasingly involve military transport planes landing in US ally Colombia airstrips, as part of a broader effort to overthrow him.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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