US Democratic lawmakers have made it clear that Congress won’t allow President Donald Trump launch a military intervention in Venezuela, where the US-backed opposition has been challenging the legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, raised concern on Wednesday about Trump’s talks of military action, which he described as “saber-rattling.”
“I do worry about the president’s saber rattling, his hints that US military intervention remains an option. I want to make clear to our witnesses and to anyone else watching: US military intervention is not an option,” Engel told a hearing on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have thronged the streets of Venezuela over the past weeks, holding rallies in support and against Maduro, who began his second six-year term in office last month.
The clashes began after Juan Guaido, the leader of the country’s National Assembly, proclaimed himself “interim president” and urged Maduro to resign.
The US rushed to support Guaido, announcing sanctions on the South American country’s oil industry.
In a recent interview with CBS, Trump said military action against Maduro remained “an option.”
Other US officials have also doubled down on the possibility of military action, with National Security Adviser John Bolton going as far as warning the Venezuelan military to join Guaido and take his “amnesty” before they lose the chance.
Under US law, Congress must approve foreign military action and the president doesn’t have the power to act on his own.
During the hearing on Wednesday, Democrats on the committee also questioned the credibility Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams.
Abrams drew angry outbursts from the lawmakers after refusing to rule out the possibility of secret dealings between the US and the Venezuelan opposition, including providing them with weapons.
PressTV-US considering military invasion of Venezuela: Russia
Russia says the US has already made up its mind about launching a possible military invasion of Venezuela in order to carry out regime change.
The panel also questioned Trump’s insistence on imposing tough sanctions that could affect people’s lives.
“I appreciate the need to squeeze Maduro,” Engel said. “But the White House must think through the potential repercussions that these sanctions could have on the Venezuelan people if Maduro does not leave office in the coming weeks.”
Besides the US, other major Western powers such as the UK, France, Spain and Germany have recognized Guaido as president.
Russia, China, Iran and Turkey are some of the countries that have thrown their support behind Maduro.Source: presstv.com