Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó on Saturday said he's instructed his political envoy in Washington to immediately open relations with the US military in a bid to bring more pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to resign, the AP reports. The leader said he's asked Carlos Vecchio, who the US recognizes as Venezuela's ambassador, to open "direct communications" toward possible military "coordination." The remarks, at the end of a rally Saturday, mark one of his strongest public pleas yet for greater US involvement in the country's fast-escalating crisis. While Guaidó has repeatedly echoed comments from the Trump administration that "all options" are on the table for removing Maduro, few in the US or Venezuelan opposition view military action as likely and the White House hasn't made noises in that direction.
But with tensions between the US and Maduro running high, the saber rattling is getting louder. On Saturday, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino condemned what he said was an illegal incursion by a US Coast Guard cutter into Venezuelan territorial waters. He provided no evidence to back the claim but said that the Venezuelan Navy vessels forced it to withdraw. "I don't know if other republics will accept actions like this in their jurisdiction, but we will not," he said. Army Col. Amanda Azubuike, a South Command spokeswoman, said a US Coast Guard vessel was conducting a drug interdiction mission in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea. Padrino has also denounced what he said were attempts by the U.S. military to sow discord inside Venezuela's barracks.
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