According to a member of the Department of Defense, there are a number of military options made within the Pentagon to counter Russian, Cuban, or Chinese influence within the regime of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
These were ordered following a meeting in the White House last week. National Security adviser John Bolton had counseled Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to think of ways to deal with the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis. Though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear that “all options” were on the table for discussion, many officials within the Pentagon have pointed out that the Department of Defense is not too keen on using US military forces against Maduro’s regime.
All these measures were responses to US President Donald Trump’s call for Maduro’s swift removal from power and to put an end to Russian interference in Venezuela. However, as with the Pentagon, there are no signs that he might want to send out troops and take serious military action.
The options presented by the Pentagon as of now include measures for deterrence that range from US naval exercises around the area to emphasizing the more humanitarian side of the US intervention. Though the exercises would lower any sense of hostility towards them, the US would make their military presence known to Venezuela’s neighbors in order to challenge Russian, Cuban, or Chinese influence within the region.
On his part, Maduro called for unity among the Venezuelan people and shifted the blame instead to US interference on domestic affairs for worsening the country’s economic woes. He called for the military to reach out to the people to defend the country from foreign threats with the goal of reaching 3 million members by December 2019.
During his tour around Chile, Paraguay, and Peru, Pompeo did not directly respond to queries as to what the US will do to confront Maduro, although he insisted that whatever decision to be made must be up to the people of Venezuela.
He also pointed out how China continued to contribute to the crisis with its bankrolling of the Maduro regime, though Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang denied this and called it slander on the part of the United States.