Trump's Venezuela comments pose challenges for Pence

Trump's Venezuela comments pose challenges for Pence

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Colombia amid escalating tensions with neighboring Venezuela and North Korea.

Leftist allies Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua have backed Venezuela in a confrontation against its "imperialist" foe.

But, thanks to Trump's warning on Friday that he was considering various measures to tackle Venezuela "including a possible military option if necessary", Latin American nations - including those who are scolding Caracas for "breaking democratic rule" - are united against the use of American force.

Pence is set to meet with Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos on Sunday at the start of a weeklong trip to Latin America that is likely to be dominated by conversations about the deepening crisis in Venezuela, where the USA accuses President Nicolas Maduro of a power grab that has sparked deadly protests and condemnation across the region.

Trump's national security adviser said the Trump administration wants to get a handle on the current situation under Maduro's embattled government and "understand better how this crisis might evolve".

Anti-government activists stand near a barricade burning in flames in Venezuela's third city, Valencia, on August 6, 2016, a day after a new assembly with supreme powers and loyal to President Nicolas Maduro started functioning in the country.

Mora, who is a Venezuelan-affairs analyst and former news anchor for "Good Morning America", said that although more than 80 percent of Venezuelans oppose the Maduro dictatorship, most also object to American troops violating the country's sovereignty due to long-held resentments towards the USA for meddling in the region.

"We have many options for Venezuela". It is an attack on the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people. Although the Venezuelan military is obviously no match for the American one, it is far from a pushover and if it resisted an invasion, the ensuing conflict "especially in densely-populated Caracas, would undoubtedly lead to a catastrophic loss of innocent lives".

Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya: The aggression of the US president against Nicolas Maduro exposes the violent character of the USA government against the people of Venezuela. The other stops were Argentina, Chile and Panama.

Venezuela gives Rosneft most of that oil as payment for billions of dollars in cash loans that Mr Maduro's government has already spent.