Latin American countries have slammed Donald Trump’s threat of military intervention to end Venezuela’s political crisis.
Mr Trump said on Friday he was considering various measures to tackle Venezuela “including a possible military option if necessary”.
Venezuela’s defence minister Vladimir Padrino said Mr Trump’s comments were “an act of craziness”.
The country has been ravaged by protests against President Nicolas Maduro and his new constituent assembly, which can rewrite the constitution and override parliament.
Demonstrations have been taking place since April and have turned increasingly violent with more than 120 people killed.
Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Brazil have condemned the president’s comments and Mr Maduro’s son has also weighed in as a newly elected assembly member said rifles would “arrive and take the White House” if military action was launched in Venezuela.
Nicolas Maduro Guerra said Mr Trump needed to concentrate on his own country’s problems and vowed that if the US attacked Venezuela, the Vietnam War “would seem small in comparison”.
Ricardo Luna, foreign minister of Peru, which has been a fierce critic of Mr Maduro, said: “All foreign or domestic threats to resort to force undermine the goal of reinstating democratic governance in Venezuela, as well as the principles enshrined in the UN charter.”
In a statement, Brazil’s foreign ministry said: “The repudiation of violence and whatever option involving the use of force is resolute and constitutes a fundamental basis of democratic cohabitation, both in domestic contexts as well as in international relations.”
Mexico foreign minister Luis Videgaray wrote on Twitter. “The crisis in Venezuela can’t be resolved through military actions, internally or externally.”
Many Latin countries have bitter memories of past military interventions in the region, including the 1989 invasion of Panama to topple leader Manuel Noriega.
US Vice President Mike Pence is currently touring Latin America with the aim of co-ordinating regional diplomatic action to end the crisis in Caracas
A senior US administration official said the tour would involve discussions on how US “partners and friends” were looking to the “future” regarding that country, while others were stuck in the “past”.
He added: “We’ll talk to economic options, diplomatic options – every tool that’s available. It’s not only the United States putting forth pressure on Maduro, but that he’s getting it from all sides of the region as well.”
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