Venezuela 'ready' for any US attack: FM Jorge Arreaza

The statement comes after opposition leader Juan Guaido told the BBC he did not rule out military option.

    Venezuela 'ready' for any US attack: FM Jorge Arreaza
    Guaido has said that 'any American military support must be alongside Venezuelan forces' [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]

    Venezuela is ready to see off any attack from the United States, the country's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Monday in Moscow.

    "We are ready for all scenarios. The first is diplomacy, dialogue, peace," Arreaza told a press conference after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

    But if Washington "opts for the military path, we have an armed force, a people, a national guard that will be able not just to resist and fight, but also to win," he added.

    The foreign minister's comments come following a failed, US-backed bid by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to spur a military uprising against President Nicolas Maduro last week.

    Venezuela's Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino had called the uprising a "coup attempt" by Guaido.

    In an interview with the BBC on Sunday, Guaido reiterated that he was not ruling out the option of asking the US for military support.

    The opposition leader stated he will "evaluate all options", to overthrow President Maduro.

    "I believe that it is not only wise to assess it given the crisis and tragedy that Venezuela is living through, but to prepare alternatives, if the regime intends to continue radicalising a process that has brought us to disaster," Guaido said.

    "I, as the president in charge of the national parliament, will evaluate all the necessary options," he added.

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    Trump's conciliatory tone

    However, in an interview with the Washington Post, Guaido specified that "any American military support must be alongside Venezuelan forces."

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the failed uprising on Russia, a key backer of Maduro.

    On Friday, Donald Trump adopted a strikingly conciliatory tone after a conversation, which lasted longer than an hour, with President Vladimir Putin on the Venezuela crisis.

    "He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he'd like to see something positive happen," Trump said of Putin, before adding: "And I feel the same way." 

    But Pompeo in a less conciliatory tone stated the US is not ruling out military action but added that it did not seem to be an imminent option at the moment. 

    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has, meanwhile, called on Washington to "abandon its irresponsible plans" in the crisis-wracked country.

    Military uprising 

    Earlier last week, the political crisis escalated when Guaido said the "final phase" to end Maduro's presidency had begun.

    Guaido tried to rally support from the military during an uprising when thousands took to the streets to demand Maduro's resignation, but things did not go as planned. 

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    The move led to two straight days of massive street demonstrations across the country that left hundreds injured or arrested, and four dead due to security forces' efforts to quell protests, according to rights groups.

    In the interview with the Washington Post, Guaido conceded that the opposition had overestimated its support within the armed forces.

    "Maybe ... we still need more soldiers, and maybe we need more officials of the regime to be willing to support it, to back the constitution."

    But many continue to believe a change needs to take place and protest should continue.

    "I'm broken, I'm afraid. We are tired of this, of seeing our friends die, of the lack of hope, of the lack of change. We need to continue protesting until things change here," David Gonzalez, a Venezuelan student, told Al Jazeera. 

    Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government has expressed readiness to sit down with the opposition with no pre-conditions and seek a solution to the political crisis.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News