U.S. officials considered a naval blockade against Venezuela during a meeting this month in Washington, according to a report from the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia on Wednesday.
The report quotes Fernando Cutz, a Venezuela specialist for the consulting firm the Cohen Group, who claims to have been at the meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. Cutz said the group ruled out the possibility of a U.S. invasion of Venezuelan territory but a “low intensity” alternative such as a naval blockade could prove effective if it received international backing.
“An invasion is not possible, but something of low intensity, such as a naval blockade, could maybe tip the scales [against the regime],” he explained. “However, it would only be feasible if there is support from other countries.”
Latin American nations – with the notable exceptions of states run by Marxists such as Cuba, Nicaragua, and Mexico – largely agree that the socialist regime of dictator Nicolás Maduro must end to restore normalcy to Venezuela, where socialist policies have created a humanitarian crisis and the largest migrant crisis in the history of the hemisphere.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for Mexico’s leftist government, Maximiliano Reyes Zúñiga, recently said that his administration would do “everything possible so that there is no military intervention in Venezuela.”
“For us, the dialogue is plan A,” he said. “And we do not tie this dialogue to the elections because it is a decision that Venezuelans should take, our Constitution prohibits us from supporting interventionism, there must be a democratic solution, and this means an electoral process, but agreed from within.”
President Donald Trump has long asserted he would not categorically dismiss a military solution to remove the Maduro regime in Venezuela. According to a report from the Associated Press last year, Trump was considering the idea as far back as 2017, but regional leaders and domestic advisers suggested other options. So far U.S. policy has been limited to imposing sanctions on the regime and supporting opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president.
“This is our neighbor, Venezuela is not far away,” Trump said at the time. “The people are suffering and they are dying, we have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary.”