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Venezuela opposition rejects 'military threat'

AFP , Sunday 13 Aug 2017
Opposition activists protest in Caracas on August 12, 2017 (Photo: AFP)

The opposition coalition in Venezuela on Sunday rejected "the military threat by any foreign power," two days after US President Donald Trump said he was considering such an option against the crisis-hit South American nation.

The coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, did not mention Trump's name, but its message was clear.

It said in a statement it rejects "the use of force, or the threat of applying such force, by whatever country against Venezuela."

Trump's comment on Friday that his administration was mulling many options, "including a possible military option if necessary," to fix the "dangerous mess" in Venezuela outraged Caracas, which called it "reckless" and "madness."

It was also rejected by all Latin American countries -- not only Venezuela's allies such as Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, but also those strongly opposed to President Nicolas Maduro, including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile.

US Vice President Mike Pence was traveling to Colombia on Sunday for a tour of some friendly countries in the region with a view to coordinating further action against Venezuela, on top of US sanctions already applied.

But after Trump's comment -- which US military commanders said had not been followed by any orders to prepare any sort of operation -- Pence was faced with unified rejection of forceful US intervention.

The Venezuelan opposition coalition said Maduro's recent moves to bolster his power despite broad unpopularity and a spiralling economic crisis had "isolated" the country.

But with many Venezuelans sharing bitter memories in Latin America of past US military adventures in the region -- including invasions, propping up dictators and promoting guerrilla forces -- there was little appetite for forced change from Washington.

"The only path to peace is the restoration of democracy. Venezuelans demand free elections be held at all levels," the opposition coalition statement said.

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