U.S. Navy Commander Admiral Craig Faller affirmed that his forces are “ready” to do whatever “needs to be done” in Venezuela should the Trump administration wish to pursue military intervention in the socialist-controlled country.
Speaking to reporters in Rio de Janeiro as the U.S. started multination maritime exercises, the leader of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) warned that the Navy must “remain on the balls of our feet” with regard to the situation in Venezuela, which is experiencing one of the world’s gravest economic and humanitarian crises under the Maduro regime.
“I won’t speak to details of what we’re planning and what we’re doing, but we remain ready to implement policy decisions and we remain on the balls of our feet,” he said. “The United States Navy is the most powerful navy in the world. If a policy decision is made to deploy the Navy, I’m convinced that we’ll be able to do what needs to be done.”
U.S. Navy and Marine forces are currently taking part in maritime exercises alongside 12 other Latin American and Caribbean countries in a project known as UNITAS, which is aimed at strengthening relationships and military cooperation. The current drills are taking place off the coast of Brazil until August 30th.
Faller added that the exercises should send a clear message to Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime, who the Trump administration is leading efforts to remove from power and instigate a transition to democracy in the crisis-stricken country.
“[This] sends a message to Maduro and other partners that don’t share the same values,” said Faller. “Naval exercises send a message to the world of what democracies that work together can do across a range of complex threats.”
“The U.S. government[‘s] focus continues to be to place focused and targeted pressure on an illegitimate regime to ensure there’s a transition to a legitimate, democratic government,” he continued. “Part of that focus is to ensure that the right humanitarian assistance is allowed to get to the people who need it.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to rule out a military solution, holding the position that “all options are on the table” for removing Maduro from power, a threat the regime have weaponized as a commitment to all-out war. Although Trump has reportedly considered the use of military force, the current U.S. policy has been one of exerting “maximum pressure” against the regime’s financial resources, principally by imposing economic sanctions on key officials and state-run industries.