It appears this weekend's provocations and border showdown over US aid entering Venezuela were just the beginning. US State Secretary Mike Pompeo discussed the prospect of military action against Caracas on Fox News Sunday, saying the Maduro regime's days are "numbered" and that "every option" is on the table toward making that happen.
Pompeo said the US is “going to do the things that need to be done” and this will not stop until “makes sure” that “there is a brighter future for the people of Venezuela," which includes continued support for self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido. Denouncing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as a “sick tyrant,” Pompeo said in his Sunday morning remarks:
We’re very hopeful in the days and weeks and months ahead the Maduro regime will understand that the Venezuelan people have made its days numbered.
The threat comes just Guaido announced he would attend a summit of the Lima Group – a meeting of 12 American states which have recognized him as "legitimate" leader of Venezuela.
Crucially, Guaido is to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence at the summit where he will “propose formally to the international community that we should keep open all options for the liberation of our homeland, which is fighting and will continue to fight,” according to a tweeted statement Saturday evening.
Guaido has since Friday evening been addressing the opposition from neighboring Colombia, where he personally attempted to lead failed attempt at seeing an aid caravan across the border into Venezuela.
He's repeated calls for Venezuela's military members to defect, offering a general "amnesty" especially for any high ranking officers facing allegations of corruption. So far this has met with little success despite his pleas for there being not other choice but for the armed forces to "embrace democracy".
Over the weekend a mere handful of border guards defected to Colombia and pledged support to Guido. This after clashes at multiple border crossings and bridges left at least four people dead and scores wounded, according to The Washington Post.
Violent clashes at the Simón Bolívar International Bridge on Saturday.
ESPECIAL VENEZUELA >PUENTE INTERNACIONAL DE TIENDITAS > EL Puente Internacional Simón Bolívar, continúan los enfrentamientos en la frontera con Colombia pic.twitter.com/AGnDYILSmk— FEAPE (@FEAPEANDALUCIA) February 23, 2019
Washington condemned the violence that erupted amidst opposition-led efforts to bring in aid trucks from Brazil and Colombia, which US leaders blamed on “Maduro’s thugs” who are led by the “sick tyrant” Maduro for refusing to allow much-needed food and medicine to reach his own people; however, Caracas has reportedly allowed in hundreds of tons of Russian and other international aid of late.
The Maduro government sees American "humanitarian aid" missions, which increasingly involve military transport planes landing in US ally Colombia airstrips, as part of broader efforts to foment coup. Indeed Pompeo's words on Sunday declaring that Maduro's "days are numbered" is an affirmation that Maduro's fears are not unfounded.