Bolton: US military intervention in Venezuela not imminent

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U.S. military intervention in Venezuela is not imminent but all options remain on the table, President Trump’s national security adviser said Friday.

“No,” John Bolton said when asked by conservative talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt if the U.S., Brazil, Colombia or a combined force is close to intervening militarily in the South American nation wracked by social and political unrest.

{mosads}“The president said all options are on the table. But our objective is a peaceful transfer of power,” the national security adviser said.

The Trump administration has launched a major effort to push Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro out of power, including backing National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president.

But the president has repeatedly floated the possibility of a U.S. military intervention to push out Maduro, even though foreign policy experts believe such a strike is unlikely.

Bolton was photographed at a White House press briefing this week holding a yellow notepad with the phrase “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on it.

He declined to comment on the message, telling Hewitt “when we say all options are on the table, we want to keep it at that level. And going beyond that, I think, would be imprudent.”

The comments suggest the administration intends to stick by its use of soft power, at least for now.

“We’ve been imposing economic sanctions, increasing political pressure from around the world,” he said. “The overwhelming majority of the people of the country want the Maduro regime thrown out. That’s what we hope and expect to do.”

The U.S. has slapped new sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, a significant source of wealth for the Maduro government, and warned other countries against accepting shipments of gold or other national assets from the socialist leader.

Media reports have indicated that Venezuela is prepared to ship hundreds of millions of dollars in gold bullion to the United Arab Emirates.

“Reports show he is flying out Venezuelan assets by the plane full. Is he stealing resources from the people to pay for Russian intervention?” Bolton tweeted Friday.

Tags Colombia Donald Trump John Bolton Marduro presidency National Security Adviser Venezuela White House

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