Pence Defends Trump, Condemns White Supremacists

Posted August 15, 2017

Two days after President Donald Trump said he would not rule out a military option to intervene in Venezuela, the President of Colombia had a message for his American counterpart: Rule it out.

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

Mike Pence said hate groups have no place in American life, during a visit to Colombia, South America, Sunday.

Pence spoke alongside Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, whose son is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, during a news conference in Cartagena.

"We must do everything possible so that democracy is reestablished in Venezuela", Santos said.

The U.S. Treasury now has sanctions in place against 21 Venezuelan officials, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Vice President Tareck El Aissami, Prosecutor-General Tarek William Saab, the Minister of Justice Nestor Reverol and Adan Chavez, brother to late President Hugo Chavez.

The threat of military intervention would also seem to contradict the advice of Trump's top national security adviser.

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The Assembly, totally controlled by the Maduro government, approved the date change in the "exercise of its constitutional functions" and informed the decision to the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena.

Santos took a strong line against the military threat, telling Pence that such a possibility "shouldn't even be considered" and would be "unacceptable". The statement prompted harsh criticism of the Venezuelan authorities.

Cuban analyst Luis Suarez said that Trump was violating the declaration signed in 2014 by the heads of state of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, declaring the region as a "zone of peace". "It is something else to discuss United States intervention, which only strengthens Maduro's hand and makes it harder for other regional countries to work with us".

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said in reaction to the latest sanctions that the Trump White House was "making a fool of itself in front of the world". "For much less, he has accused the US of imperialism".

"Maduro's absurd claims that he's protecting Venezuela against US threat have now been validated", Feierstein said on Twitter. Using the American military to oust him would be a mistake.

Argentina said dialogue and diplomacy were the only ways to promote democracy in Venezuela.

Mr McMaster said the USA would "continue a series of actions against the Maduro regime which aim to strengthen the opposition and to reach out to those who are members of this oppressive regime to tell them it's time to reconsider your actions and your support for this dictator".