US Admiral Craig Faller called on the government of Venezuela to ‘do the right thing’ and participate in a peaceful transition of power, slamming the country’s government as a dictatorship.
The change in leadership should be “primarily democratic,” Faller told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday, though he did not dismiss a military intervention.
The admiral warned that democratic values all around the world were under assault by “external state actors” such as China, Russia and Iran. He urged cooperation with US allies in Latin America in solving Venezuela’s political crisis, and said the US should maintain a “consistent military presence” across the Western Hemisphere.
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Faller’s stance is broadly reflected in US policy, but it is not shared by other world powers, who see the issue as more complicated.
Backers of the Nicolas Maduro government – among them Russia, Turkey and Iran – have opposed the regime change effort and the use of political violence.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday warned the US against getting further involved in the crisis, as it would represent a violation of international law.
Faller, a four star Navy admiral, was promoted to head up US Southern Command last November, which oversees military operations in Latin America.
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