U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned members of Venezuela’s military who remain loyal to socialist President Nicolas Maduro that they are risking their future and their lives and urged them to allow humanitarian aid into the country.
Speaking to a cheering crowd mostly of Venezuelan and Cuban immigrants in Miami, Trump said if the Venezuelan military continues supporting Maduro, “you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You’ll lose everything.”
Maduro retaliated late on Monday that Trump’s speech was “nazi-style” and said he acted as if he were the owner of Venezuela and its citizens his slaves.
Trump offered strong backing for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom the United States, many of Venezuela’s neighbors and most Western countries have recognized as interim president of Venezuela.
But Maduro, who won a second term last year in an election that critics denounced as a sham, retains the backing of Russia and China and control of Venezuelan state institutions, including the security services.
Trump cautioned Venezuelan armed forces not to harm Guaido or other opposition politicians, urged them to accept the National Assembly leader’s offer of amnesty and demanded that they allow in food, medicine and other supplies.
Guaido, who invoked constitutional provisions to declare himself the country’s leader last month, has said that aid will enter Venezuela from neighboring countries by land and sea on Saturday.
The United States has sent tons of aid that is being stockpiled on Colombia’s border with Venezuela, but Maduro has refused to let it in.
Maduro calls the aid a U.S.-orchestrated show and denies any crisis despite many Venezuelans’ scant access to food and medicine.
“We will not make of the honorable Venezuela a Venezuela of beggars,” he said in televised comments on Monday. “We will not accept it.”