The US national security adviser, John Bolton, said American strategic interests were in play, including concerns about the presence and activities of US foes in the region.
“We think stability and democracy in Venezuela are in the direct national interests of the United States right now,” Bolton told reporters. “The authoritarian regime of Chávez and Maduro has allowed the penetration by adversaries of the United States, not least of which is Cuba.” He added: “Some call the country ‘Cubazuela’, reflecting the grip that Cuba’s military and security forces have on the Maduro regime. We think that is a strategic significant threat to the United States and there are others as well, including Iran’s interest in Venezuela’s uranium deposits.”
Asked if there was any possibility of US troops getting involved in the Venezuelan crisis, Bolton replied: “Look, the president has made it very clear on this matter that all option are on the table.” Any violence against Guaidó, the Venezuelan opposition or US diplomatic staff “would be met by a significant response”.
The notepad Bolton was holding hinted at just how potentially a dangerous situation it could be. The cryptic handwritten comment appeared to read: “5,000 troops to Colombia”.