U.S. CIA Director Mike Pompeo defended President Trump not ruling out "a military option" in Venezuela Sunday saying that the South American country could become a risk to the U.S. because "the Cubans are there, the Russians are there, the Iranians, Hezbollah are there."
During an interview with “Fox News Sunday” this weekend, Pompeo described Venezuela’s situation as a serious risk to the United States.
“It’s a civil war, I understand it’s a terrible situation,” Fox News journalist Chris Wallace said, ”but ultimately why is it our problem?” he asked.
“Look,” Pompeo said, “Venezuela could very easily become a risk for the United States of America. The Cubans are there, the Russians are there, the Iranians, Hezbollah are there. This is something that has a risk of getting to a very, very bad place. So, America needs to take this very seriously.”
While at his golf course in New Jersey Friday, Trump told reporters that the U.S. has a number of solutions to Venezuela’s situation and military force was still an option being considered.
"We don't talk about it but a military operation, a military option is certainly something that we could pursue," Trump told a reporter when asked to elaborate on his statement.
According to Pompeo, the president’s speech was intended to “give the people of Venezuela hope and an opportunity to create a situation in which democracy can be restored.”
Trump’s national security adviser, Herbert Raymond McMaster, also announced his support while speaking with ABC, saying officials, “don't just want to be able to cooperate in the current situation, but to better understand how this crisis could evolve,” adding that the U.S. wants to protect the Venezuelan people from the possibility of a “major humanitarian catastrophe.”
Vice President Pence arrived in Colombia Sunday on a Latin American tour with Venezuela on the top of his agenda.
According to Patricio Navia, a political scientist at New York University, Pence is aiming to gain support from Latin American diplomats to remove Venezuela’s head through other, political means and not necessarily through military force.
The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has long made calls for peace, dialogue, and negotiated solutions to resolve an ongoing crisis stemming from right-wing opposition protests that have frozen the many of the country's institutions and claimed over 100 lives since April.
Hardliners in the opposition, led by the United Democratic Roundtable have spurned these appeals and have instead opted for violent protests that have led to over 120 deaths in their attempts to overthrow the Bolivarian government.