WASHINGTON/CARACAS – U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened military intervention in Venezuela, a surprise escalation in Washington’s response to the South American nation’s political crisis.
On Friday, Trump appeared outside his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, alongside Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, where he told reporters that he had “many options” for responding to the Venezuelan crisis.
“The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump said.
The Pentagon, however, has reportedly not been directed on any such plans.
Venezuela has appeared to slide toward a more volatile stage of unrest in recent days, with anti-government forces looting weapons from a military base after the installation of an all-powerful new legislative body.
More than 120 people have been killed in Venezuela and thousands arrested in over four months of unrest.
Trump called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator” and blamed him for the humanitarian situation in the country.
Trump did not elaborate as to whether American troops would be leading the military option.
“We don’t talk…