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Regional leaders denounce Trump's military threat to Venezuela

Jim Wyss, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

BOGOTA, Colombia -- After months of being Latin America's whipping boy, some of Venezuela's most ardent opponents reluctantly came to its defense Saturday, pushing back against President Donald Trump's threat to use military force against the socialist government in Caracas.

Colombia, Peru and the Mercosur bloc of nations -- three of Venezuela's biggest and perhaps most effective detractors in the region -- were among those who issued statements denouncing Trump's bellicose rhetoric.

Colombia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it rejected the use of "military measures and the use of force" when dealing with Venezuela.

"Despite the current difficulties of reaching a peaceful and negotiated solution, we still believe that is the right path to find long-term solutions for the people of Venezuela," the ministry said.

The rebuke from Washington's most loyal ally in the region came the day before Vice President Mike Pence will begin a Central and South American tour here.

Also Saturday, Peru said "any attempted use of force, whether it's external or internal, undermines the objective of restoring democracy ... to Venezuela."

Just a few days earlier, Peru hosted officials from 17 Latin American nations who condemned Venezuela's abuse of power and loss of democracy.

And a week ago, the Mercosur bloc of nations -- led by Argentina, Brazil and Chile -- indefinitely suspended Venezuela from the group, urging the country to release political prisoners and return to democracy.

But Saturday, the bloc was condemning Trump's saber rattling.

Trump said Friday that "we have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary."


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