Trump not ruling out military options in Venezuela

Sanctions could expand the interests of Cuba China and Russia in Venezuela's oil business

Sanctions could expand the interests of Cuba China and Russia in Venezuela's oil business

The remarks came shortly after Maduro forcefully warned the USA president that Venezuela "will never give in".

"Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering".

Trump said on Friday he would not rule out a "military option" in Venezuela, a claim seemingly contradictory to the view of his top national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away", Trump said. "I am sure that we will all be on the front lines of defending the interests and sovereignty of this beloved Venezuela", he added.

Venezuela's defence minister Vladimir Padrino said Mr Trump's comments were "an act of craziness".

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Between the new assembly and major food shortages, Maduro's government has sparked massive unrest in Venezuela.

The country is deep in a recession compounded by shortages of food and medicine, while anti-government protests have killed more than 130 people since April. "There is an extremist elite that rules the United States".

In Colombia, Pence is also expected to highlight trade, business investment and other ties between the nations, including USA support for the country's efforts to implement its peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The Trump administration has been putting pressure on Colombia to curb the flow of drugs into the USA, and Colombia has stepping up its forced eradication program and increased seizures of cocaine.

One outspoken Democratic congressman denounced Trump's comments.

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Trump's comments on Venezuela come amid rising tensions over USA relations with North Korea, which has threatened a missile launch toward the US territory of Guam over what it perceives as Trump's aggressive posturing.

US Vice President Pence arrives in Colombia as he undertakes a tour of Latin American countries.

Argentinean worldwide law expert Paola de Simons told Xinhua that Trump was sending out "a warning, (as a) foreign threat, which belongs to what were decades ago".

The president's comments will also complicate the calculus of Latin American leaders, many of whom had been speaking out against Maduro's actions. Trump has shut the door on the idea until Maduro returns some sanity to his quickly deteriorating nation.

The White House said late Friday that Maduro requested a phone call with Trump.

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Meanwhile, Venezuela is also being pressurised by Peru, who has criticised its new constituent assembly. Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who has led Latin America in taking on Maduro, recalled the country's ambassador to Caracas after the government-packed supreme court took steps to shut down congress, which is controlled by Venezuela's opposition.

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