Monday 16 December 2019
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The News - 13 days ago

Pompeo defends military restraint on Venezuela

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made clear Monday that the United States did not plan a military intervention in Venezuela even as he vowed that leftist leader Nicolas Maduro would one day fall.In a speech on Latin America, Pompeo renewed President Donald Trump s promise to battle socialism across the hemisphere but said his policy in Venezuela is mixed with restraint. We ve seen folks calling for regime change through violent means, and we ve said that all options are on the table to help the Venezuelan people recover their democracy and prosperity, Pompeo said at the University of Louisville. That is certainly still true.But we ve learned from history that the risks from using military force are significant, he said. Pointing to hard-hitting US sanctions that include curbs on Venezuela s key export of oil, Pompeo said that US efforts have been realistic, within the capacity of American power. Trump since January has been demanding the resignation of Maduro, a leftist firebrand who presides over a crumbling economy that has led millions of people to flee.But Maduro remains in power with the support of Russia and China and opposition efforts to install Juan Guaido, the young head of the National Assembly, have fizzled. Pompeo nonetheless voiced confidence that Maduro would fall and suggested he may share the inglorious fate of Romania s communist dictator. In July of 1989, Nicolae Ceausescu said capitalism would come to Romania when apples grew on poplar trees and by December he was hanging from a rope, Pompeo said.Iran the common villain in Mideast protests: Mike Pompeo said Iran was the uniting factor behind protests around the Middle East, saying demonstrators in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran itself opposed the clerical regime.While acknowledging diverse local reasons for the unrest that has swept the Middle East as well as other regions, Pompeo pointed the finger at Iran, considered an arch-enemy by President Donald Trump s administration. Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi resigned because the people were demanding freedom and the security forces had killed dozens and dozens of people. That s due in large part to Iranian influence, Pompeo said. The same is true in Lebanon, the protests in Beirut, he said at the University of Louisville.

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