“What we want is not a military intervention by the international community, but rather a peaceful, political and democratic resolution (of the crisis) based on Venezuela’s constitution,” Washington’s Venezuela Affairs Unit (VAU) Charge d’Affaires James Story was cited Wednesday by Reuters as saying in an interview published on the website of Venezuelan newspaper 2001. “How can you have a democracy when you can’t even choose through votes?”
He further accused the government of President Nicolas Maduro of having allowed military intervention into the country.
“There are Russian military officers in the country … and we know that there are a lot of Cuban military officers,” he said. “Why? Because they want Maduro to stay.”
The US recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of the country.
Washington has been pressuring for a transition in part by setting up a representative office called the VAU based in Colombia on Wednesday to keep in touch with Guaido.
A US military contingent has also been deployed to the impoverished South American nation of Guyana for the first time in a decade in a bid to beef up its regional influence in neighboring Venezuela and undermine growing Chinese and Russian presence in the region.
US President Donald Trump issued an executive order in early August, stating that “all property and interests in property of the government of Venezuela that are in the United States… are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.”
Washington has already imposed several rounds of sanctions against the oil-rich country to oust Maduro and replace him with the opposition figure, who declared himself interim president earlier this year.
This is while, Venezuelans are suffering from a lack of basic necessities as a consequence of US sanctions. According to United Nations statistics, a quarter of Venezuela’s 30-million-strong population is in need of humanitarian aid.
Guaido welcomed the US sanctions, arguing that they punish those “who do business with the regime.”
The Trump administration has even confiscated Venezuela’s state oil assets based in the US to channel them to Guaido.