- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2017

President Trump told leaders of Latin American nations Monday night that the U.S. is ready to take “further action” against the Venezuelan government if President Nicolas Maduro persists in repression.

“The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable,” Mr. Trump said at a dinner meeting in New York City. “We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on the path to imposing authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.”

Two weeks ago, Mr. Trump refused to rule out military action, but he didn’t repeat that warning on Monday. The meeting, held on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly, was to discuss what Mr. Trump called “the growing crisis in Venezuela.”

“The socialist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has inflicted terrible misery and suffering on the good people of that country,” Mr. Trump said. “His corrupt regime destroyed a thriving nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and despair everywhere it has been tried.”

Venezuelans, Mr. Trump said, “are starving.”

“Their country is collapsing,” he said. “Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. The situation is completely unacceptable. As responsible neighbors and friends of the Venezuelan people, our goal must be to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy.”

The president and Vice President Mike Pence thanked leaders of Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Argentina and other nations for condemning the Venezuelan regime and providing support to the people of the country.

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