Trump urges Venezuelan military to abandon Maduro
by Alyssa Jackson
Posted 2/19/19, 12:49 pm
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned members of the Venezuelan military that they risk their lives and their country’s future by continuing to back embattled President Nicolás Maduro. “Maduro is not a Venezuelan patriot, he is a Cuban puppet,” Trump said in a speech to a Venezuelan expatriate crowd in Miami. Florida is home to an estimated 190,000 Venezuelans, many of whom arrived in the past decade as their homeland slid into economic and political crisis under Maduro. The United States in late January recognized National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as interim president after he invoked a constitutional clause to remove Maduro from power.
Trump assured the members of the Venezuelan military still backing Maduro that neither Guaidó nor the United States seeks retribution against them. He then urged them to reject Maduro’s orders to block humanitarian assistance: “He would rather see his people starve than give them aid.” In addition, Trump warned the Venezuelan military not to threaten violence against peaceful protesters, opposition leaders, members of the National Assembly, or Guaidó and his family. “We seek a peaceful transition of power,” Trump said, “but all options are open.”
Venezuela was once one of the wealthiest countries in South America, but Trump used the country as an example of the failures of socialism, noting, “A new day is coming in Latin America.”
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Alyssa is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and a former WORLD intern.