The U.S. military would be available as an option in Venezuela, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, this after a violent day of demonstrations marked the first coup attempt on President Nicolas Maduro.
During an interview with Bret Baer on Fox News, Pompeo said Tuesday that President Donald Trump has been transparent about his consideration of military action in Venezuela.
“If the question is, is the United States prepared to consider military action if that’s what it takes to restore the democracy there in Venezuela, the President’s been consistent and unambiguous about that,” Pompeo said.
“The option to use military force is available if that’s what is ultimately called for,” Pompeo added.
“We hope it’s not,” Pompeo noted. “We hope there can be a peaceful resolution and that Maduro will leave without violence. We’re watching those who are engaged in violence and we will hold them accountable. But the President has made very, very clear that we are going to ensure that Venezuelan democracy is restored.”
Pompeo doubled down on the comments during an appearance with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“The President’s made very clear that all options are on the table. That certainly includes a military option,” Pompeo said.
“But I don’t think anyone should be fooled that if the President makes that decision, if he chooses a military option, that the United States military has the capacity to execute that option in a way that will achieve the outcome the President intends,” he added.
Pompeo also accused Russia of convincing Maduro to stay in Venezuela when he allegedly had plans to travel to Cuba.
“Maduro’s plane was parked on the tarmac and he was preparing himself to depart,” Pompeo said. “The Russians indicated he should stay.”
President Trump and the U.S. have been supportive of the Venezuelan opposition movement since it arose in January.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido and his supporters flooded the streets on Tuesday in an effort to remove socialist President Nicolas Maduro, an effort that had been brewing for several months.
Guaido announced Tuesday that “the start of the end of the usurpation” would begin Tuesday, beginning what has evolved into a mass uprising in Venezuela, CNN reported.
Dubbed by Guaido as “Operation Freedom,” the movement acquired numerous Venezuelan military personnel who defected from the Maduro administration. Some even vowed to defend Guaido to the death.
Maduro-loyal forces sent to address the crowd responded with gunfire and military vehicles, including one that drove right over a curb and into a group of protesters, striking at least one person.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 30, 2019
Approximately 14 other nations back Guaido and the opposition movement in Venezuela.