US National Security Adviser John Bolton has called on the Venezuelan military to "protect the freedoms of a democratic Venezuela," saying the armed forces have a "responsibility to safeguard democracy and the constitution," to "protect civilians and ensure access to basic rights."
Venezuela’s military has a responsibility to safeguard democracy & the constitution, protect civilians & ensure access to basic rights of the people of Venezuela. We call on the Venezuelan military to protect the freedoms of a democratic Venezuela. https://t.co/otpuiQAZXU— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) July 6, 2019
Bolton's remarks, made as a response to an article about a speech by UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who accused Venezuela's military of engaging in "state-sanctioned violence" and numerous human rights violations, echoed claims made previously by Venezuela's opposition leaders as they sought support from the military in plots to overthrow the government.
The Trump official's appeal didn't go over well online, with commenters firing off tweets asking why the US feels the need to intervene everywhere around the world, and accusing Bolton of ignoring problems at home.
Why USA must always interfere?https://t.co/6RZW2qBptz— Sebastian Kowalski 🇵🇱🇬🇷 (@xenosstinkriti) July 6, 2019
I see you've enlisted the dirty rag NYT to pave the way for war with Venezuela #WarMongers Maybe they could pave the way for #PoliceReform in NYC, and push to #TestCopForSteroids New York City doled out a record $302 million for police misconduct lawsuits. https://t.co/6JpVuB8LXT— Adaya77 (@Adaya77) July 6, 2019
You're a war monger on a life long quest for war. And, why did Trump ban you from the NK trip?— Rob Wagner 🇺🇸 (@wagner_rob) July 6, 2019
Others turned Bolton's words around on him, suggesting that the US armed forces should be asked to do what the official is demanding of the Venezuelan armed forces.
The United States’s military has a responsibility to safeguard democracy & the constitution. We call on the United States military to refuse to be used as a political pawn by the president.— Lula Rodriguez (@Lananalula) July 6, 2019
You know it’s funny. I know very little about Maduro, and I trust him WAY more than The NY Times or John Bolton. Especially when those two agree.— Andrew OBrien (@AndrewO_Brien) July 6, 2019
Stop your propaganda. You don’t care shit about Venezuelan people. You just want socialist Maduro to go because he endangers your imposed oiltrade in $$. You don’t own the world, the US has no right to replace a government just because they don’t like it.— Rory 🇪🇺 (@rory20s) July 6, 2019
We see you!
Bolton, a key proponent of efforts to topple the Venezuelan government in the Trump administration, has repeatedly attacked the Venezuelan government and Maduro personally in speeches and on Twitter, blaming the country's authorities for the crisis and accusing 'foreign actors' including Russia, China and Iran of shoring up the current government. An architect of the 2003 War in Iraq, Bolton has been pushing a hard line on Venezuela, Iran and North Korea since becoming national security adviser in 2018, and has repeatedly called for 'military options' during the Venezuela crisis.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself "interim president" earlier this year, formally requested US military support in May after failing to attract key support from Venezuela's armed forces in an April 30 coup attempt, with that plot collapsing after the Venezuelan officers and troops expected to take part stayed in their Caracas barracks and burned written appeals issued by Guaido and his supporters in the streets. The failure of the coup prompted President Maduro to issue a statement praising the military for showing "total loyalty" to the government and calling on "maximum popular mobilization."
Guaido proclaimed himself interim president on January 23, just weeks after President Maduro was sworn in for a second term following elections the previous May. The US and its Latin American and European allies immediately recognised Guaido and tightened sanctions against Caracas. Russia, China, and several dozen other nations have voiced support for Maduro, or urged the US and its allies not to meddle in Venezuela's affairs.