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Venezuela crisis: White House could deploy 5,000 US troops to Colombia



The White House is seemingly open to sending up to 5,000 troops to Colombia as President Donald Trump squares off with Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro.

During a press conference on Monday, reporters spotted National Security Adviser John Bolton carrying a notepad that appeared to say: “Afghanistan -> Welcome the Talks. 5,000 troops to Colombia.”

When contacted for clarification on Bolton’s notes and whether the Trump administration is considering deploying thousands of US troops to the region, a White House spokesman told INSIDER, “As the President has said, all options are on the table.”

Venezuela has been in crisis for years as Maduro’s inept, dictatorial policies have pushed the country into economic collapse.

The president and other White House officials have in recent days pointed to the possible use of military force in Venezuela as the country slides into further turmoil and nationwide protests have occurred against Maduro. But the administration has not offered much in the way of specifics and Bolton’s notes seemingly offer one of the biggest clues yet as to what the White House might be planning.

Read more: Trump is decrying Maduro’s authoritarianism in Venezuela as he simultaneously embraces the region’s newest strongman in Brazil

Last week, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president as people took to the streets against Maduro. President Donald Trump swiftly recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful leader, and a number of US allies have followed his lead. This initially prompted Maduro to cut off diplomatic ties with the US but he’s since reversed that decision as he faces mounting pressure from the international community to step down.

Maduro still has the support of the Venezuelan military, however, as well as the backing of Russia and China. His position in Venezuela is drastically weakened, but he’s far from defeated at present.

Bolton on Monday reiterated the Trump administration’s assertion that “all options are on the table,” including using military force to oust Maduro, as the Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned energy company.

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