Officials in Venezuela called for a massive march against the United States and “imperialism” on Sunday following reports that the Trump administration met with disaffected members of the country’s military.
On Sunday, leading socialist Diosdado Cabello announced “a march against imperialism and in honor of Salvador Allende,” a Marxist Chilean leader overthrown via a U.S.-backed military coup. “Imperialism and the government of the United States admitted to having met at least three times with military coup leaders to carry out a coup d’état.”
At an event by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Cabello also blamed the U.S. for the failed alleged assassination attempt on Maduro at a military parade last month, an incident initially blamed on internal actors.
“The presidential assassination that was stopped was led by the United States,” Cabello continued. “Is there anyone who has any doubt?”
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza described it as “absolutely unacceptable and unjustifiable that U.S. government officials participate in meetings to encourage and promote violent actions of extremist with the aim of attacking Venezuelan democracy and national peace.”
Es absolutamente inaceptable e injustificable que funcionarios del Gobierno de Donald Trump participen de reuniones para alentar y promover acciones violentas de sectores extremistas con el fin de atentar contra la democracia venezolana y la paz nacional
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) September 9, 2018
The announcement came a day after the New York Times reported that the Trump administration met with members of the Venezuelan military who wanted to discuss ousting Maduro but ultimately decided not to back the operation over fears that it had not been planned thoroughly. The White House responded to the report Times by admitting that it engages in “dialogue with all Venezuelans who demonstrate a desire for democracy [to] bring positive change to a country that has suffered so much under Maduro.”
Talk of a possible military solution to end the Maduro regime has grown over the past year, as the country’s humanitarian crisis continues to worsen and thousands of people flee the country every day in search of political and economic refuge. In July, the Associated Press reported that Trump personally pressed aides on whether to invade the country, although White House officials and regional Latin American leaders reportedly met the idea with opposition.
One of the most prominent figures talking about the crisis in Venezuela is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who recently argued that that the U.S. may have to use military force to protect national security interests as Venezuela’s regime is allegedly involved in major drug trafficking operations and supports terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and the Islamic State.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 29, 2018
“I believe that the Armed Forces of the United States are only used in the event of a threat to national security,” he said in an interview with Spanish radio station Univision last month. “I believe that there is a very strong argument that can be made at this time that Venezuela and the Maduro regime has become a threat to the region and even to the United States.”