Trump pressed aides on invading Venezuela, officials say

United States President Donald J. Trump participates in a meeting with the Prime Minster of The Netherlands Mark Rutte at The White House in Washington DC

McMaster was among the advisers who explained that any military action could backfire and threaten the support the USA built up with other Latin American governments to punish President Nicolas Maduro for jailing opponents and consolidating power in an effort to establish a dictatorship. Although he gave no indication he was about to order military plans, he pointed to what he considered past cases of successful gunboat diplomacy in the region, according to the official, like the invasions of Panama and Grenada in the 1980s.

Leaving aside the obvious logistical difficulties of invading a country with roughly the same population levels as, for example, Iraq, Trump's rhetoric plays straight into Maduro's hands: The Venezuelan leader has consistently claimed that the protests which Venezuela has seen in wake of his sham election victory in May are part of a USA -backed plot to oust him and seize Venezuela's oil.

Sources told the AP that Trump's aides told him an invasion was a bad idea but that Trump persisted and even floated the idea with nearby countries.

The White House declined comment, the AP reported, but a spokesman for the National Security Council said the U.S. will consider all options to restore Venezuela's democracy.

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At a private dinner held around a UN General Assembly meeting in NY a month later, the AP said, Trump proceeded to ask the leaders of four Latin American countries whether they would accept military action.

Trump didn't drop it, and the next day made public remarks about a "military option" to remove President Nicolas Maduro. The only of the leaders named by the AP was Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

However, the United States president eventually failed to garner support for his plans both from the regional leaders and his own administration officials. The US has also distributed more than $30 million to help Venezuela's neighbors absorb an influx of more than 1 million migrants who have fled the country.

Maduro's son, also named Nicolas, said past year: "Mind your own business and solve your own problems, Mr. Trump!" "If Venezuela were attacked, the rifles will arrive in New York, Mr. Trump", the younger Maduro said. The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for nationwide "anti-imperialist" drills in response to this threat, while Russian Federation denounced any plans of military intervention into the Latin American country as "unacceptable". "Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering, and they are dying".

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