'Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Saturday said he has instructed his political envoy in Washington to immediately open relations with the US military, in an attempt to put more pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to resign.
Guiado said he had asked Carlos Vecchio, who the US recognizes as ambassador, to open “direct communications” toward possible military “coordination”.
The remarks, at the end of a rally, were Guaido's strongest public plea yet for greater US involvement in the country’s fast-escalating crisis. While Guaido has repeatedly echoed comments from the Trump administration that “all options” for removing Maduro are on the table, few in the US or Venezuelan opposition view military action as likely. Nor has the White House indicated it is seriously considering such a move.
But with tensions between the US and Maduro running high, the saber rattling is getting louder.
On Saturday, Venezuelan defense minister Vladimir Padrino condemned what he said was an illegal incursion by a US coast guard cutter in Venezuelan territorial waters. He provided no evidence but said Venezuelan vessels forced the ship to withdraw.
“I don’t know if other republics will accept actions like this in their jurisdiction, but we will not,” he said.
Col Amanda Azubuike, a US Southern Command spokeswoman, said a coast guard vessel was conducting a drug interdiction mission in the international waters of the Caribbean sea. She declined to provide further comment.
In past days, Padrino also denounced what he said were attempts by the US military to sow discord inside Venezuela’s barracks, inviting an angry response from Adm Craig Faller, head of Southern Command, who said he “stands ready” to assist Guaido.'
Read more: Guaido seeks relations with US military in attempt to take power in Venezuela
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