White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that “momentum is on the side of” interim President Juan Guaido in Venezuela, and that President Nicolas Maduro “fears” that if he orders Guaido’s arrest, “it would not be obeyed.”
“I think momentum is on Guaido’s side. Reports in the press that … the military hasn’t shifted miss the point entirely,” Bolton said in an interview with “This Week” Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz Sunday.
“They have not sought to arrest Guaido and the National Assembly in the opposition, and I think one reason for that is that Maduro fears if he gave that order, it would not be obeyed,” he added.
The U.S., along with 50 other countries, have backed Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaido, who’s leading the opposition movement.
Bolton tweeted Wednesday that President Donald Trump “has made it clear to Nicolas Maduro and those around him, ‘all options are on the table.'” But Pentagon officials indicated in September that there was no active planning for U.S. military intervention.
In his first interview with an American television network in years, Maduro told ABC News Anchor and Chief National Affairs Correspondent Tom Llamas that phrases like “all options are open,” are “a threat for war.”
“The extremist government of the Ku Klux Klan that that directs Donald Trump wants a wants a war for oil,” Maduro said. “It’s a crazy plan. It’s an extremist plan. Because Venezuela is a pacifist, humble nation.”
Aid workers who attempted to deliver trucks of humanitarian aid across Venezuela’s borders in recent weeks were met with resistance. Some trucks were “incinerated” according to officials. Maduro had ordered large containers across the bridge to block aid from entering the country.
Thousands of Venezuelans desperately in need of food and medical supplies protested, leaving hundreds injured. At least two people were killed, according to the Associated Press.
In the same interview last month, Maduro also said that he fears the people around President Donald Trump, including Bolton, who he called “an extremist and expert of the Cold War.”
“I think these people surrounding President Trump and advising him on Venezuelan policies are bad. And I think that at one point, President Trump will have to say ‘stop, stop, we have to see what happens with Venezuela,’ and change his policy,” Maduro said.
In a statement Wednesday, Bolton warned that foreign financial institutions are being put “on notice” and that sanctions will follow if they facilitate transactions to benefit Maduro.
Vice President Mike Pence announced additional sanctions in February on regime officials and three border state governors who the Trump administration believes assisted in blocking humanitarian aid. Before that, the U.S. Treasury announced sanctions on five top Venezuelan officials.