Trump reportedly asked aides about invading Venezuela previous year

Leroy Wright
July 6, 2018

The president particularly discussed this issue with the then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the then national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, both of whom, allegedly expressed skepticism over the idea by saying such a move could alienate the U.S. allies in the Latin America.

They explained that military action would likely alienate Latin American governments who were working together to punish and ostracize Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro. Two high-ranking Colombian officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid antagonising Trump confirmed the report.

According to AP, Trump cited the invasions of Panama and Grenada in the 1980s as examples for successful military interventions overseas during his conversations about Venezuela.

Trump nonetheless persisted. He pointed to the successful invasions of Panama and Grenada during the 1980s - countries which, together, have about 13 percent of Venezuela's population - as examples of successful military interventions in the region. Trump allegedly went as far as to ask each of the leaders personally if they are "sure" they did not want a "military solution" to the Venezuelan political crisis that the Latin American country was facing through 2017.

Then in September, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Trump discussed it again, this time at greater length, in a private dinner with leaders from four Latin American allies that included Santos, according to the same three anonymous sources and Politico news website which reported on the story in February.

Despite his aides' warnings, Trump reportedly continued to talk of a "military option" to remove Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela's president.

McMaster finally succeeding in persuading Trump of the dangers of an invasion, the report said, and the president's interest in the notion subsided.

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Speaking to the press at his New Jersey golf course at Bedminsiter, he said: "We have many options for Venezuela, this is our neighbour".

The proposal was first suggested last August, when the White House considered imposing sanctions against the regime.

The White House declined to comment on these reports.

Even some of the staunchest US allies were begrudgingly forced to side with Maduro in condemning Trump's saber rattling.

Washington might indeed have not entirely given up on an idea of an intervention, or at least a military coup in Venezuela.

A member of the national guard fires his shotgun at opposition demonstrators during clashes in Caracas on July 28, 2017.

During a meeting about diplomatic sanctions the United States were enacting on the autocratic government of Venezuela, Donald Trump asked several close foreign policy advisors whether invading Venezuela should or should not happen.

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