Venezuelans prepare for potential USA 'military option' against Maduro

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National security advisor HR McMaster followed suit, saying "no military actions are anticipated in the near future".

Venezuela bought more weapons than any other country in Latin America in 2015, according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute, spending United States $162 million on war-related resources such as armored vehicles, artillery, warplanes and ships.

About two weeks ago, after some sanctions were imposed on high-ranking Venezuelan officials, President Trump said that a military option in Venezuela wasn't off the table for the country was a consolidated dictatorship.

The Venezuelan government has categorically rejected a public statement issued by the opposition Democratic Unity Table coalition, which supports US -imposed economic sanctions against the country.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, however, described the sanctions as threats, and called on the United Nations to denounce them. Tensions between the two countries continue to increase, especially after the new sanctions imposed by the united states on Venezuela last Friday, which prohibit new transaction with Venezuela's oil companies.

Maduro has in recent days attempted to rewrite the nation's constitution to give himself virtually unlimited powers, jailed opposition leaders and rigged an election.

He found an opportunity to argue his case that he's being unfairly targeted after Trump said earlier this month that he wouldn't rule out a "military option" to resolve Venezuela's crisis - comments that were roundly rejected throughout Latin America, even by some of Maduro's toughest critics.

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Maduro has used Trump's remarks to reinforce support for his government, which has witnessed record- low approval ratings amid an ongoing political and economic crisis.

While Trump's administration is aiming to pressure Maduro, the new sanctions do not prohibit investors from buying the bonds that Goldman Sachs Asset Management purchased earlier this year.

Venezuela's center right-led opposition and worldwide powers including Washington say Maduro is turning Venezuela into a dictatorship.

His Vice President Mike Pence later played down the threat, insisting that Washington was prioritising a diplomatic solution and economic sanctions.

The measures ban trade in new bonds issued by the Venezuelan government or its cash-cow oil company, PDVSA.

That could choke off access to NY debt markets and substantially raise the likelihood of Venezuela being forced into default. With Venezuela's streets calmer than they have been for months, and the opposition reeling from its failure to prevent the constitutional assembly from going forward, action from an increasingly concerned global community represents the best chance of reining in Maduro, he added.

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