The Pentagon is developing “new military options” on Venezuela aimed at deterring Russian, Cuban and Chinese influence within Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s regime, sources at the Pentagon said.
The sources added that warrants for “deterrence options” had been issued following last week’s meeting at the White House when National Security Adviser John Bolton informed Patrick Shanahan, acting defense minister, of developing ideas on the Venezuelan crisis.
The sources confirmed that the initial work is carried out by the staff of the Ministry of Defense, which is planning future military operations with the Southern Command, which oversees any US military participation in the southern hemisphere.
The US Secretary of State has recently said that “all options are still on the table” in dealing with Venezuela, but several Pentagon officials emphasize that the appetite of the US Department of Defense is not open to the use of military force against the Venezuelan regime as an attempt to change the regime forcibly.
Although US President Donald Trump had called Maduro to leave power and stressed the need for the Russians to get out of that country, there is no evidence of Trump’s desire to commit the US forces to major military action there.
The sources suggested that one of the options of deterrence to conduct US naval exercises in the region adjacent to Venezuela, to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance, and increase military interaction with neighboring countries, in order to challenge any action by Russian or Cuban or Chinese there.