LISBON – The US special representative for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, is in Portugal to ask for greater cooperation from the European country in the efforts against President Nicolás Maduro and spoke about the situation in Caracas.
In an interview with the Observer newspaper, Abrams said there must be a “greater sense of urgency” to deal with the issue of Venezuela in countries like Portugal and Spain.
The US representative met with Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva.
“The objective is to discuss how we, the US and Portugal, see the situation in Venezuela, what we can do to be more effective in the efforts to return democracy in the country, as Portugal thinks of future actions by the European Union and what the US has planned in the coming weeks and months,” Abrams said.
The European bloc has already imposed sanctions on Caracas by blocking assets and preventing the travel of people linked to the Maduro government.
On the “military option” that US President Donald Trump has said is on the table against Venezuela, Abrams stressed that this hypothesis “is true.”
“No one wants a military solution there, I assume no one wants it, inside and outside of Venezuela, but this option does exist, I do not think that any of us know for sure what will be the situation of Venezuela in the region and its borders, in three months. We can not predict the future, ” Abrams told the Observer.
Speaking about the Russian military presence in Venezuela, Abrams also stated:
“The Russians have about 100 men on the ground. I would say that if the situation arose [an armed conflict], they’d better get out of the way.”
The deep economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela escalated further at the end of January, when Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself the interim president of the country. Maduro says that the problem in Venezuela is the result of sabotage orchestrated by opponents in the country and abroad.
Several Western countries, led by the United States, announced the recognition of Guaidó as president. Russia, China, Turkey and other nations support Maduro as sole legitimate president.