It was just about one year ago when Donald Trump said he was thinking of using a “military option” in Venezuela, an idea met with much criticism in the U.S. and in Venezuela itself.
“As our minister of defense and a Venezuelan citizen, I say it is an act of madness,” said Vladimir Padrino Lopez, Venezuela’s defense minister, as reported by Vanity Fair.
Trump still hasn’t let go of the idea. As recently as Tuesday, Trump remarked at the United Nations General Assembly that “it’s a regime that, frankly, could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that.”
And he has slowly started to gain support for the idea in Washington. Senator Marco Rubio said last month that there is a “very strong argument” to be made that Venezuela is becoming a security threat.
Politically, taking action against Venezuela could help Trump’s cause more than hurt it. Historically, wartime presidents get re-elected, and Trump has clearly been thinking about reelection since the day after he was elected to office.
Even if you don’t agree with anything else @realDonaldTrump says or does,if you care about returning security,prosperity & democracy to the people of #Venezuela you have to give him credit for paying attention to & taking action on this crisis. https://t.co/e4oCMz92mr
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 26, 2018
On Wednesday, Trump said he was open to meeting with Venezuela, and remarked that “all options” are on the table, according to CNBC.
“We’re going to take care of Venezuela, if he’s here and he wants to meet, it was not on my mind, it was not on my plate, but if I can help people that’s what I’m here for,” said Trump of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro’s administration has had opposition political leaders jailed and created a congress with unlimited power. Inflation in the country is about 200,000 percent. Venezuelan citizens are leaving the country in droves, leading Latin America to the brink of a refugee crisis.
Maduro claims that he is embroiled in an “economic war” with enemies of Venezuela who are backed by the U.S. Venezuela has been sanctioned numerous times under Trump, dating to 2017.
“All options are on the table, every one…The strong ones and the less than strong ones and you know what I mean by strong. Every option is on the table with respect to Venezuela,” Trump told reporters this week.
Maduro made a surprise visit to New York Wednesday when he unexpectedly showed up at the United Nations General Assembly.
“I’m arriving charged with emotion, passion and truth so that the entire world knows that Venezuela is on its feet,” he stated, according to the Miami Herald.
Venezuela has been a topic of conversation this week due to Maduro’s increasingly undemocratic approach to politics and the volatile situation unfolding in the country. Maduro assumed leadership of Venezuela after the 2013 death of Hugo Chavez. His reelection last year was questionable, to put it mildly.