US not planning any “military actions” against Venezuela “in the near future”: White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster

August 26, 2017 2:34 pm

President (right), along with National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, speaks during a security briefing on August 10, 2017, at his Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey. (Photo by AFP)

White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has said that the administration of US President Donald Trump is not planning any “military actions” against Venezuela “in the near future.”
“Obviously, all our decisions would be made in conjunction with our partners in the region,” McMaster told reporters on Friday afternoon during a conference. “No military actions are anticipated in the near future.”
Earlier this month, Trump said he might order military action against Venezuela, saying, “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary.”
But, US Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday will use “economic and diplomatic power” to restore democracy in Venezuela.
On Friday, the imposed potentially hard-hitting economic sanctions on Venezuela, barring banks from any new financial dealings with the government or state-run oil company PDVSA.
The White House announced that Trump had signed an executive order “imposing strong, new financial sanctions” on the government of Venezuela.
McMaster and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday briefed reporters on new economic sanctions the Trump administration has imposing against Venezuela following the oil-rich nation’s election of the new assembly tasked with rewriting the constitution.
McMaster said the president’s advisers “always look at a broad range of contingencies and how this might evolve in the future” and provide that information to Trump.
Venezuela has been reeling from unrest for several months in a crisis caused by political disagreements — including on the formation of the National Constituent Assembly — and shortages of food and medicine and hyperinflation.
The opposition says the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is to blame for the crisis, but the government accuses foreign powers and “right-wing terrorists” for the unrest.
Maduro insists that a new constitution is needed “to restore peace,” stop the opposition from carrying out a “coup d’etat,” and address social and economic problems of the country.
He has repeatedly condemned what he calls “imperialist meddling” by the United States.
The powerful 545-seat Constituent Assembly, with the principal task of rewriting the 1999 constitution, started its work on Friday, following an election which was held amid a wave of deadly clashes and violence, with protesters attacking polling stations and barricading streets.
At least 125 people have died over the past four months in Venezuela during riots and violent demonstrations against the government.
Venezuela staging war games 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offers a press conference at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on August 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Meanwhile, Venezuela is starting two days of military drills on Saturday in response to Trump’s threat of military action.
Maduro on Friday warned the country’s armed forces against “fissures” in their ranks amid US threats of military action.
Addressing the country’s top military officials ahead of military drills, which are seen a show of strength and unity, the Venezuelan president urged the officials to “be prepared to fight fiercely… in the face of an eventual” invasion.
Maduro said, “We must be clear, especially for the youth in the military, that we must close ranks within the homeland — that this is no time for any fissures and that those with doubts should leave the armed forces immediately.”
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