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Argentina's Macri Says Military Force Not 'the Way to Go' in Venezuela

  • Ken Schwartz

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, right, walks with Argentina's President Mauricio Macri at the government residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug. 15, 2017.

Argentina's president Mauricio Macri is the latest Latin American leader to say U.S. military intervention is not "the way to go" to bring back democracy to Venezuela.

Macri and visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with reporters following their talks Tuesday in Buenos Aires.

"The way to go is not the use of force," Macri said through an interpreter. "We must refine diplomatic and economic skills in order to ensure that a democracy is restored as swiftly as possible."

Macri said there is unanimity across Latin America against a military solution. Pence heard the same objections Monday from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

FILE - Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, left, talks to the media as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens during a joint press conference at the presidential guesthouse in Cartagena, Colombia, Aug. 13, 2017.
FILE - Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, left, talks to the media as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens during a joint press conference at the presidential guesthouse in Cartagena, Colombia, Aug. 13, 2017.

President Donald Trump said last week he is not ruling out force for Venezuela. Pence said Tuesday that Trump has "made it clear ... that the United States has many options and we reserve those options." He said the U.S. will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles into dictatorship and that a failed democracy in Venezuela is a threat to the United States.

Argentina is currently hosting about 60,000 refugees in Venezuela, where the economy is a wreck and such basic foods as bread, sugar and cooking oil are in drastically short supply.

"Venezuela has the potential to be one of the wealthiest nations in our hemisphere with its oil reserves alone," Pence said. "And yet the poverty and deprivation that is resulting from their collapse into dictatorship speaks for itself."

Pence congratulated Macri for his reforms that helped revitalize Argentina's economy, calling its revival an inspiration for the world.

Pence continues his Latin America tour this week in Chile and Panama.

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