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CIA Director Pompeo: Venezuela's Situation Continues to Deteriorate

FILE - Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo.
FILE - Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo says Venezuela could “very much” become a risk to the United States.

Pompeo told Fox News Sunday that when U.S. President Donald Trump raised the possibility of military intervention in Venezuela, Trump was trying “to give the Venezuelan people hope and opportunity to create a situation where democracy can be restored.”

“The intelligence makes very clear the Maduro regime continues to put snipers in towers and do things that are horrible, repressive, and the American policy is to work with our Latin American partners to try and restore democracy,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo said Venezuela could become a risk to Americans if the country descends into further chaos.

“The Cubans are there; the Russians are there, the Iranians, Hezbollah are there. This is something that has a risk of getting to a very very bad place, so America needs to take this very seriously,” he said.

On Friday, Trump said a military option against Venezuela was on the table, and he described the situation there as a “dangerous mess.”

“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary," Trump told reporters at his golf resort in New Jersey.

President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Aug. 12, 2017.
President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Aug. 12, 2017.

Trump said he’s “not going to rule out” a military option and added it’s “certainly something that we could pursue.” He said the people in Venezuela are “suffering and they are dying.”

Earlier this week, the Trump administration also imposed new sanctions on Venezuela, targeting members of the new all-powerful constituent assembly.

The Venezuelan government on Saturday fired back at what it called a "reckless threat" by Trump.

Trump's statement "aims to drag Latin America and the Caribbean into a conflict that would permanently alter stability, peace and security in our region," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said, reading a statement from President Nicolas Maduro.

Arreaza accused Trump of "warmongering" and said Trump's comments represented "the United States' systematic aggression against Venezuela."

Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said he had “no idea why” the United States would use military force in Venezuela.

Graham he understands why American troops are Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, South Korea and part of Europe,but not Venezuela, the Associated Press reported.

“I’m open-minded to a reason, but at the end of the day, our military should be deployed when there’s a national security interest that can be articulated to the American people. I don’t see one in Venezuela in terms of the military force,” he said.

Amid unrest in Venezuela and concerns about a possible American military role, is U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Latin America.

Pence is scheduled to arrive Sunday in Colombia for a week-long trip during which the main topic is likely to be Venezuela crisis.

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