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Trump, once again, talks with his mouth full and his head empty Printer friendly page Print This
By Staff Writers, teleSUR
Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017

Trump, Dining with LatAm Allies, Calls for Venezuela to Comply 'Very, Very Soon'

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks his mind at a working dinner with Latin American leaders in New York City, Sept. 18, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Using the occasion of his first U.N. General Assembly meeting to turn up the pressure on Venezuela, U.S. President Donald Trump met with a select group of right-wing Latin American allies in New York and promised to impose Washington's will on the South American nation “very, very soon.”

Amid ongoing talks between the Venezuelan government and the opposition in the Dominican Republic, Trump said Washington may take additional steps to ramp up the pressure if President Nicolas Maduro continues on a path which he described as “authoritarian rule.”

Trump invited Presidents Michel Temer of Brazil, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, Juan Carlos Varela of Panama and Argentine Vice President Gabriela Michetti to the dinner.

Despite past talk from Trump of “a possible military option” in Venezuela, the threat was conspicuously absent from the night's discussions. Instead the U.S. President continued to accuse his Venezuelan counterpart of having “defied his own people" and upholding a "disastrous rule" that may require further punitive measures.

In characteristically hyperbolic form, Trump blasted the "terrible misery and suffering" inflicted on Venezuelans by what he said was the so-called "regime" of Maduro.

“We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela, and we want it to happen very, very soon,” the president added.

The meeting, which was entirely absent of any Venezuelan representatives, is unlikely to sit well with those hoping to solve the ongoing political crisis through an internal process of dialogue and political negotiations.

"What we all want is for Venezuela to become a democracy again and we are exerting all the pressure we can for that to happen," Santos said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Trump upset close U.S. ally Colombia last week after publicly saying he "seriously considered" blacklisting it as a drug war ally for failing to stop a surge in cocaine production.

Notably absent were Presidents Enrique Pema Nieto of Mexico and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru.

Trump enraged Mexico, which has marched lock-step with Washington on the issue of Venezuela, by failing to extend condolences to the country following a devastating 8.1 earthquake that struck off the coast of Oaxaca on September 7.

While the Peruvian leader has been dealing with his own political crisis at home.

Caracas has reacted coolly to the meeting, which Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza described in recent days as a “rival dialogue.”

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