Caracas: Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused the United States of resorting to “psychological warfare” after US National Security Advisor John Bolton was seen holding a notepad with “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on it.
“This is a childish way to direct foreign policy from the White House,” Xinhua quoted Maduro as saying.
“That’s why I say nerves of steel, calm and level-headedness, confidence in our strength and maximum military mobilization,” he remarked at a military exercise in Aragua, in north-central Venezuela, here on Tuesday. He has also accused US President Donald Trump of interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs to steal their oil.
Bolton was seen holding the notepad during the same conference where sanctions against Venezuela’s state-controlled oil agency PDVSA had been announced.
“All options are on the table,” Bolton said while referring to the crisis in Venezuela on Monday, in a reported reference to the deployment of military troops in Venezuela’s neighbouring nations like Colombia.
Meanwhile, National Assembly President Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself to be the President of Venezuela on January 23, has been barred from leaving the South American nation by Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ). The apex court has frozen all of Guaido’s financial assets.
“We are requesting the TSJ the application of the following precautionary measures prohibiting departure from the country, of selling and mortgaging real and personal property and freezing bank accounts,” Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab had said.
This is in line with the preliminary investigations against Guaido in response to “violent events that were incited in the country beginning on January 22,” Saab noted.
In a related development, Maduro has told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that he is willing to meet with opposition leaders and international mediators to resolve the country’s political turmoil.
The US was the first nation to support Guaido’s claim as the interim President of Venezuela and has rallied for other nations to do the same. China and Russia have put their weight behind Maduro, slamming the United States for its interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs.