Pence tries to strike balance on Venezuela


Associated Press

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

Vice President Mike Pence, traveling Sunday in Colombia, tried to strike a balance between Latin American opposition to U.S. military intervention in neighboring Venezuela, and President Donald Trump’s assertion that military action is an option.

At a news conference, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said he told Pence the U.S. must not even consider military action in response to Venezuela’s crisis. The two countries are important allies, Santos said.

“But since friends have to tell each other the truth, I have told Vice President Pence that the possibility of a military intervention shouldn’t even be considered, neither in Colombia nor in Latin America,” Santos said. “America is a continent of peace. It is the land of peace. Let us preserve it as such.”

Pence did not directly rule out the idea of U.S. military action. Instead, he emphasized that the U.S. will work together with many nations in their “neighborhood” to pressure President Nicolas Maduro so that Venezuela’s democracy can be restored.

Pence said several times, “but the president sent me here” to build on that partnership.

The vice president railed against Venezuela’s descent into crisis, saying, “the United States will not stand by” as democracy in the country “crumbles.”

Trump shocked many on Friday when he said he would not rule out a “military option” when it comes to dealing with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s attempts to consolidate power.

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