WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will hold Venezuela's military forces responsible for protecting the Latin American country's citizens as it increases its efforts to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power, National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday.
"We will continue to intensify our efforts to end Maduro’s usurpation of Venezuela’s Presidency and will hold the military and security forces responsible for protecting the Venezuelan people", Bolton said in a statement on Twitter.
The United States has imposed numerous rounds of sanctions against Venezuela in response to the political developments in the country. In January, the United States blocked $7 billion in assets belonging to Venezuela’s oil company PDVSA.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN Samuel Moncada has said the United States was arming Venezuelan defectors to form a so-called liberation army to invade the country, stressing that Venezuela views Trump's stance of "all options on the table" as a threat of using military force to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro's government.
Venezuela entered a tumultuous political crisis in January after opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself to be the country’s interim president.
The United States immediately recognized Guaido, after which some 50 other countries followed suit. Russia, China, Turkey, Bolivia, Iran and a number of other states have said they consider constitutionally elected Maduro and his government to be the only legitimate authority in Venezuela.
Maduro, who was sworn in for his second presidential term on 10 January after winning the May 2018 election, has called Guaido a puppet of the United States and has insisted that Washington is attempting to stage a coup in Venezuela.
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