With Pence, Colombia leader urges no U.S. military action in Venezuela

Aug. 14 (UPI) — During a press conference alongside U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the United States should rule out a military solution for neighbor Venezuela’s political crisis.

Santos made the comment on Sunday in Cartagena, where he met the U.S. vice president during a four-country regional tour.

“Since friends have to tell them the truth, I’ve told Vice President Pence the possibility of military intervention shouldn’t even be considered,” Santos said. “The Latin American continent, every country in Latin America, would not favor any form of military intervention and that is why we are saying we are intent on looking into other measures some of which are already underway and others to be implemented in the future.”

Santos said Venezuela’s transition into a democracy must be “peaceful” and “democratic.”

Pence’s trip to Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama comes after President Donald Trump noted that a military option to resolve the crisis in Venezuela was on the table.

“We have many options for Venezuela. And by the way, I am not going to rule out a military option,” Trump said Friday. “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his regime quickly rebuked Trump’s comments. Last week, Maduro said he wants to meet with Trump at the United Nations in New York next month.

In Colombia, Pence said that while the United States has “many options for Venezuela,” Trump and his administration will work with Latin American allies to “achieve a peaceable solution.”

“In Venezuela, we’re seeing the tragedy of tyranny play out before our eyes,” he said. “Venezuela is sliding into dictatorship, and as President Trump has said, the United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.”

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