Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that U.S. military action in Venezuela is on the table as the opposition to the socialist regime of Nicolás Maduro, led by self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó, takes to the streets this week.
“If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do,” Pompeo told Fox Business. “We would prefer a peaceful transition of government there, where Maduro leaves and a new election is held. But the president has made clear, in the event there comes a moment — we’ll all have to make decisions about when that moment is — the president will have to ultimately make that decision.”
Guaidó, who is also the National Assembly president, appeared with recently released opposition activist Leopoldo López in a video message on Tuesday and announced “Operation Liberty,” the “final phase” of his effort to overthrow the regime, calling on Venezuelan armed forces to oust Maduro.
“See you in the street!” Guaidó wrote in a tweet Wednesday.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 30, 2019
Pro-Maduro soldiers were seen ramming armored trucks into a crowd of opposition protesters in video captured of the clashes that broke out on Tuesday. There were reports of gunfire exchanges between the soldiers backing Guaidó and troops loyal to Maduro.
More protests are expected later Wednesday as protesters gather in the streets of Caracas, which remain calm for the moment.