Trump: Venezuelan military personnel backing Maduro are 'risking their future'

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE warned Venezuelan military personnel Monday against continuing to support President Nicolás Maduro, whose government the U.S. views as illegitimate.

"They are risking their future, they are risking their lives and Venezuela's future for a man controlled by the Cuban military and protected by a private army of Cuban soldiers," Trump told a crowd at Florida International University in Miami. "Maduro is not a Venezuelan patriot, he is a Cuban puppet. That's what it is."


Trump outlined two paths for members of the Venezuelan military to take: either defect from Maduro's government and side with National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. has recognized as the country's legitimate president, or stay with Maduro.

“You can choose the second path, continuing to support Maduro,” Trump.

“If you choose this path, you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit, and no way out. You will lose everything.”

Trump reiterated his call to leave Maduro's government on Twitter after his speech.

Since Guaidó's invocation of Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution to assign himself the role of interim president last month, the military has generally remained in support of Maduro.

Despite the U.S. and most other nations in the Western Hemisphere recognizing Guaidó, the military have followed Maduro's orders to block aid from the U.S. from entering the country.

Maduro has said the assistance is politically motivated and essentially foreign intervention.

"Two days ago the first U.S. Air Force C-17 landed in Colombia loaded with crucial assistance, including thousands of nutrition kits for little Venezuelan children," Trump said during his speech Monday.

"Unfortunately dictator Maduro has blocked this life-saving aid from entering the country."