Venezuelan military may turn on Maduro, US warns

Venezuelan military may turn on Maduro, US warns

Washington, Feb2 (Just News): The US State Department Secretary, Rex Tillerson, has suggested Venezuela may face a military coup.

Mr Tillerson said the US was not advocating regime change and that he had no intelligence on any planned action.

But he said that historically the military in Latin America has often intervened in times of serious crises.

He was speaking at the University of Texas ahead of his Latin America tour.

The secretary of state will visit Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Colombia, as well as Jamaica.

Mr Tillerson joked that Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro should seek refuge in Cuba.

"If the kitchen gets a little too hot for him, I am sure that he's got some friends over in Cuba that could give him a nice hacienda [villa] on the beach," he said.

"In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people," he said.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza criticised Mr Tillerson's comments and urged Latin American countries to unite against a common enemy.

"Imperialism is our enemy. Trump goes against Mexico in the same way he attacks Venezuela and Central American immigrants", he said.

"Imperialism doesn't respect anything," added Mr Arreaza, as he arrived in Havana for an official visit to Cuba.

Mr Maduro is running for a second six-year term in elections due by the end of April.

He has repeatedly accused the United States of leading an international plot to oust him and undermine the social programmes introduced by the socialist party since it came to power in 1999.