- Jim Young/Reuters
- The White House appears to be considering the option of sending 5,000 troops to Colombia as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on Venezuela’s Nicolas 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.”
- The Trump administration has repeatedly said “all options are on the table” when asked if it’s considering military force to topple Maduro in Venezuela.
- In response to a question regarding Bolton’s notes, a White House spokesman told INSIDER, “As the President has said, all options are on the table.”
The White House is seemingly open to sending up to 5,000 troops to Colombia as President Donald Trump squares off with Venezuela’s Nicolas 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.”
So this notepad that National Security Advisor John Bolton was holding today at the White House briefing on Venezuela says:
"Afghanistan -> Welcome the Talks. 5,000 troops to Colombia."
— Rao Komar (@RaoKomar747) January 28, 2019
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 option of using 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.
Last week, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president as people took to the streets against Maduro. President Donald Trump quickly recognized Guaido 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.
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.