South American trading bloc Mercosur has spoken against Mr. Trump’s latest comments on the Venezuela situation. Yesterday, the US President said they were looking at many options, including military action. The comments came just days after eight Venezuelan government officials were sanctioned.
Argentina, which has been a big critic of Venezuela’s government, spoke about the comments and said that dialogue and democracy were the only ways. Last week, Venezuela was suspended from Mercosur.
Venezuelan government officials quickly responded to the comments, with one saying that they were the most serious the country had ever received.
The protests, which began in April, have left more than 100 people dead. The protesters demand general elections and other changes in the country, which currently has one of the highest inflation in the world. The government has instead chosen to go for a constituent assembly, which has received criticism from neighbors in the region. Peru, Argentina and Colombia have criticized the move for a constituent assembly, which can rewrite the constitution. Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has repeatedly said the country will not recognize the constituent assembly. On Friday, Peru expelled Venezuela’s ambassador.
Venezuela was suspended indefinitely from Mercosur last week. The suspension came just days after the government held elections for the constituent assembly. The more than 500 new assembly members began working on Friday last week.
On Friday, Mr. Trump told reporters that the US had many options for Venezuela, including a military one. In the last two months, the US government has sanctioned more than 20 Venezuelan government officials. In a statement before the constituent assembly elections, the US President warned the Venezuelan government that there would be sanctions if the elections happened. The Venezuelan government continued its plans and shortly after the elections, Maduro was sanctioned. The sanctions include the freezing of his assets. Before the elections, the US also sanctioned 13 Venezuelan government officials. A few days ago, the US sanctioned eight more officials.
The White House said yesterday that Maduro requested a phone call with Mr. Trump after his comments.
The US government has sanctioned more than 20 Venezuelan government officials in the last few weeks. The sanctions include the freezing of assets and a ban from entering the US. Maduro responded to one of the sanctions by awarding the 13 officials a replica of Bolivar’s sword. Experts believe there could be more sanctions coming, including one against its oil sector.