Venezuelan Socialist Party leader Diosdado Cabello said on Saturday that US marines were likely to enter Venezuela.
“We are few and we are a small and very modest country and here the Marines are likely to enter,” Cabello said after a week of confrontation between two military aircraft. “Their problem will be to get out of Venezuela,” Cabello told the Sao Paulo Forum gathering of left-wing politicians and activists from across Latin America.
Tension between the United States and Venezuela has escalated this year since Juan Guaido, leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, used a clause in the constitution to take office temporarily in January, arguing that the re-election of Socialist President Nicolas Maduro in 2018 was illegal.
The United States and most Western countries recognized Guido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela. The administration of President Donald Trump said it would prefer to continue to use sanctions and diplomacy to pressure Maduro to step down, but did not rule out military action as one option.
The US military accused a Venezuelan fighter plane of pursuing a US Navy aircraft aggressively in international airspace over the Caribbean on July 19. The Venezuelan government said the “reconnaissance and espionage aircraft” had entered its airspace.
The Pentagon did not respond to a request to comment on Capello’s statement.