Maduro says probe opposition over Trump threat


Stability across Latin America is in jeopardy from President Donald Trump's "reckless threat" to consider military action against Venezuela, Caracas said on Sunday, after its military vowed to stand up to the USA leader's "craziness".

"We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said.

Cuban analyst Luis Suarez said that Trump was violating the declaration signed in 2014 by the heads of state of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, declaring the region as a "zone of peace".

"It's hard to imagine a worse time for Trump to make this threat", David Smilde, a senior fellow with the Washington Office on Latin America, said in a statement.

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"This visit marks the strategic partnership between both countries, shows the help of the United States in the construction of peace and post-conflict in Colombia, and cooperation in the fight against drugs and transnational organised crime", said the statement.

"Considering the number of flash points we're dealing with in a very risky world, the last thing we need is another flash point where we may possibly use military force", Panetta said.

"Trump has made it very clear that we will not stand by while Venezuela collapses into dictatorship", Pence told reporters in Cartagena, Colombia.

Pence on Sunday evening denounced Maduro's tactics and said the USA will not stand by as the country "crumbles".

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Gen. Vladimir Padrino, a close ally of Maduro, said, "With this extremist elite that's in charge in the USA, who knows what will happen to the world?" "It is something else to discuss United States intervention, which only strengthens Maduro's hand and makes it harder for other regional countries to work with us".

Addressing a pro-government rally, Maduro said Monday that Trump's remarks were prompted by the failure of the opposition's campaign to oust him after months of destabilizing protests that left more than 120 dead and hundreds injured.

"I think the president yesterday spoke to a national moment, words the American people needed to hear - that we condemn acts of violence, acts of hatred", Pence said. And as far as US military intervention in Venezuela is concerned, no one in Washington appears to be itching for a fight.

Also Friday, the White House said Venezuela's Maduro had requested a phone call with Trump. The U.S. vice president has no power to determine U.S. foreign policy.

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Cabello, however, is not among the 30 Venezuelan officials whom the Trump administration has placed under financial sanctions. He will tour the newly expanded Panama Canal.