President Donald Trump has repeatedly refused, most recently in a speech Monday, to rule out using the military to end the tyrannical socialist rule of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, concerning many with little appetite for a major U.S. military intervention in yet another country.
“We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open,” President Trump told an audience in Florida on Monday.
Several reports have indicated that, while Trump has mulled the option of deploying troops to aid the Venezuelan opposition, the White House has opted against such a measure. Lost in the discussion of military action in Venezuela, however, has been Maduro’s consistent threats to use Venezuelan soldiers to attack and kill Americans.
Throughout his tenure, which began with the death of dictator Hugo Chávez in 2013, Maduro has called for special military training to attack Americans and threatened that no American will “make it out alive” if they attempt to join pro-democracy Venezuelans in the country demanding he step aside.
Below, five examples of Maduro threatening Americans with military action if they continue to defend the human rights of Venezuelans.
December 2018: ‘They Won’t Make It Out Alive’
A month before the United States accepted the constitutional removal of Maduro from power, replaced by current interim President Juan Guaidó, Maduro led a massive military rally against the United States, calling himself a “warrior of peace” but warning that American troops – and Brazilian and Colombian ones if they created a coalition – would “not make it out alive” if they entered Venezuela.
To his soldiers, he advised, “You must be ready to go to the heart of the enemy who dares touch Venezuelan soil – to go to the heart of the enemy and to tear out his heart in his own territory,” implying a willingness to invade the United States.
October 2018: ‘Fully Prepared’ for U.S. War
Maduro himself may have no delivered this warning, but it came from one of his most powerful henchmen: Diosdado Cabello, the former head of the fraudulent socialist “national constituent assembly,” television host and alleged head of the Cartel de los Soles, an intercontinental cocaine trafficking outlet. The United States launched a probe against Cabello in 2017 after evidence surfaced that he had ordered the assassination of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) for exposing his ties to drug trafficking, calling Cabello the “Pablo Escobar of Venezuela.”
It was Cabello that Maduro chose to deliver a message to the United States in October, saying the troops are “fully prepared” to kill Americans.
“Our Armed Forces, I believe, are prepared to resist those attacks of the North American imperialism and of the European Union, because they have a great conscience,” Cabello said during an address to troops.
September 2018: ‘Total and Radical Revolution’
In yet more remarks to the military at an event organized by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Maduro threatened once more that Americans would have no way of escaping Venezuela alive if troops landed in the country.
“Don’t make a mistake, imperialist sirs … if the imperialists dare break the rules of the game, you [the military] will go to the streets, to charge to the battle, towards total and radical revolution!” Maduro told the crowd. “If the imperialists try anything against this country, which it is likely they will enter, it’s not clear how they are going to get out.”
Maduro and the Venezuelan regime typically use “imperialism” and “empire” as a nickname for the United States.
August 2017: The Civic-Military Exercises
In August 2017, Maduro ordered the establishment of “civic-military exercises” to teach Venezuelan civilians how to conduct war against Americans. The exercises featured out-of-shape, malnourished Venezuelan men attempting obstacle courses, training to beat each other with rifles, and learning how to shoot firearms. At least one man died of a heart attack from overexertion.
Maduro proclaimed the exercises necessary and spent much of September claiming that Venezuela had been “shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire to have ever existed and we have an obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace.”
To America, Maduro said in September, Venezuela has “firearms, missiles, and well-oiled tanks prepared … to defend every palm tree in our territory.”
“Venezuela has the most modern missile system that our Armed Forces have ever had in history,” he warned America.
March 2015: ‘The Yankee Boot Will Never Touch Us’
Maduro’s belligerence against America was not limited to the Trump administration, which has been more vocal than its predecessor in condemning the socialist regime’s widespread human rights abuses. In March 2015, Maduro ordered special military exercises to protect from President Barack Obama, who Maduro claimed was plotting to invade the country.
“It is necessary to mark defensive points so that nobody will ever touch our country, the yankee boot will never touch us,” Maduro announced.
Maduro also demanded that more Venezuelans join the armed forces to fight the United States and prevent Venezuela from becoming “Libya or Iraq.”