US military delivers aid to Colombia for Venezuelan migrants

The U.S. military has delivered supplies to Colombia meant to aid migrants coming from Venezuela, the Pentagon said Friday.

The aid, which includes food, hygiene kits and medical supplies, comes as the Trump administration continues to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to step down.

“The United States remains deeply concerned about the crisis in Venezuela that has consequences for the entire region,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said in a statement Friday. “A whole of government approach is needed to respond to the humanitarian impacts of this political and economic crisis.”

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Much of the international community has viewed Maduro’s reelection as illegitimate and has recognized the leader of the Venezuela National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as interim president.

The Trump administration was among the first to do so last month.

On Friday, Davis said the request for aid came from Guaidó.

“In response to Interim President Juan Guaidó’s request for international aid, the United States has pre-positioned relief supplies—including food, hygiene kits, and medical supplies—in Colombia last week and will continue to coordinate with President Guaidó and his team of experts, governments in the region, and our humanitarian partners to mobilize aid for the Venezuelan people,” Davis said.

He added that there will be more details “shortly” on the U.S. military's “logistical support” for humanitarian assistance.

While the military often supports aid delivery around the world, this is the first time it is being used to deploy aid for Venezuela — a step that is being seen as another in the Trump administration’s pressure campaign against Maduro.

Also Friday, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against top officials in Maduro’s government.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpClinton and Ocasio-Cortez joke about Kushner's alleged use of WhatsApp Missouri Gov. declares state of emergency amid severe flooding Swalwell on Hicks testimony: 'She's going to have to tell us who she lied for' in Trump admin MORE has repeatedly floated the possibility of using U.S. forces to push out Maduro. Earlier this month, he said U.S. military intervention in the country is an “option.”

Speculation over a possible U.S. military intervention in Venezuela was also raised late last month after national security adviser John Bolton was photographed at a White House press briefing holding a yellow notepad with the words “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on it. 

Bolton would not comment on the note, but has said a military intervention in Venezuela is not imminent even as “all options are on the table.”