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US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has claimed that President Donald Trump discussed the use of military intervention against Venezuela just a couple of weeks ago.
He told news website Axiom in a telephone interview that Mr Trump had raised with him the prospect of launching an invasion of the Latin American country.
The US has led the charge as imperialist threats have escalated in recent weeks.
A series of ultimatums issued to democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro have given him eight days to stand down and hold new elections.
Mr Graham claimed Mr Trump had been considering his options in plans to force Mr Maduro from office when he discussed armed intervention.
“He [Trump] said, ‘what do you think about using military force?’ and I said, ‘well, you need to go slow on that, that could be problematic.’
“And he said, ‘well, I’m surprised, you want to invade everybody’,” the US senator claimed.
Mr Graham explained that he laughed at the proposal: “And I said, ‘I don’t want to invade everybody, I only want to use the military when our national security interests are threatened.’”
He added that the US President was “really hawkish” when it came to Venezuela.
These accusations were previously levelled at Mr Trump when he was apparently pressed against a potential military invasion by senior advisers last year.
Washington has pressed the line that “all options are on the table” regarding Venezuela.
However it has refused to recognise the democratically elected President Maduro, instead supporting unelected would-be usurper Juan Guaido, president of the defunct National Assembly.
The Trump regime has implemented a series of punitive sanctions which former UN special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas warned are killing civilians.
He warned that the UN should be taking action and also accused it of ignoring the findings included in a report he submitted last September.
Mr Zayas claimed that the sanctions are illegal as they have not been endorsed by the UN security council.
He called on the International Criminal Court to investigate their imposition as possible crimes against humanity.
“Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns.
“Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees,” he said.
Further demonstrations were expected as Mr Guaido seeks to bolster support for his power grab.
The majority of the Venezuelan people and the country’s armed forces are remaining loyal to Mr Maduro.
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