As the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela continues to spiral out of control, President Donald Trump is making it clear the US supports Juan Guaidó as the South American nation’s next president.
Guaidó was appointed by the Venezuelan legislature, which contends Nicolás Maduro stole the most recent election.
The US and dozens of other nations agree and are calling for Maduro to step down, with 50 countries now recognizing Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim leader.
Maduro, however, is indicating he has no plans to vacate his post, extending the country’s weeks-long political showdown. In addition, he’s blocking international relief aid from entering the country.
President Trump took the embattled dictator to task for his actions Monday, calling him a “Cuban puppet.”
“Two days ago the first US Air Force C-17 landed in Colombia loaded with crucial assistance, including thousands of nutrition kits for little Venezuelan children,” Trump said during a speech in Miami. “Unfortunately, dictator Maduro has blocked this life-saving aid from entering the country. He would rather see his people starve than give them aid.”
“Maduro is not a Venezuelan patriot, he is a Cuban puppet,” Trump charged.
The US commander in chief doubled down on his position, calling on Venezuela’s military to back Guaidó. He also had a warning for those who continue to support Maduro.
“We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open,” Trump said. “If you choose this path you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything.”
Maduro, however, dismissed the ultimatum, likening Trump’s words to those of Nazi Germany leaders.
“Who is the commander of the armed forces, Donald Trump from Miami?” the Venezuelan strongman asked. “They think they’re the owners of the country.”
Meanwhile, US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently visited the Colombian border where he spoke out against Venezuela’s dictator, suggesting Maduro’s actions are cruel and mercenary.
“What is happening in Venezuela is a manmade crisis of epic proportions, not caused by a natural disaster but a manmade one,” he said, “a criminal regime that is willing to kill and starve and kill its own people before it gives up power.”