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President Maduro tries to lock socialist policies of Hugo Chavez

US President Donald Trump is facing diminishing popularity at home and outside. With the growing tension with North Korea on its Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), he is now most unpopular in its neighborhood: the Latin American countries.

After months of attacking Venezuela President Nicholas Maduro, Latin America came together on Saturday against US threats of military action against the crisis hit nation.

In a statement, The South American trade bloc Mercosur, a sub-regional group of countries, rejected President Trump’s suggestion that a “military option” was possible to solve the ongoing domestic political crisis in Venezuela, saying that, “The only acceptable means of promoting democracy are dialog and diplomacy.”

Mercosur group consists of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Their statement said, “The repudiation of violence and any option that implies the use of force is inalienable and constitutes the fundamental basis for democratic coexistence.”

Moreover other South American countries including Peru, Mexico and Colombia have also joined the Mercosur bloc against the US with a statement of their own. They have criticized Washington’s threat of military action against Caracas as a move against UN principles.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino has denounced the threat as “an act of craziness”, while Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas described it as “an unprecedented threat to national sovereignty.”

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza rejected the threat as “hostile” and called on Latin America to unite against Washington. “The reckless threat by President Trump aims to drag Latin America and the Caribbean into a conflict that would permanently alter stability, peace, and security in our region,” he said.

US President Donald Trump’s threat came as the oil rich Venezuela has been witnessing months of deadly protests against Caracas government. However it is considered to be an escalation that warranted rare moment of unity among Latin American countries. Some of the South American countries have been critical of Caracas and did not offer any explicit support to Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro beyond rejecting the American threat of using force.

The ongoing political tension in Venezuela rose recently after government announced plans to establish a Constituent Assembly to take over the opposition controlled parliament and rewrite constitution. Opposition saw the move as an overt attempt by President Nicholas Maduro to accumulate power. The ensuing protests caused deaths of at least 120 people from both the sides.

Elections for the 545-member Constituent Assembly were held on July 30. President Maduro later “subordinated” himself to the Assembly.

Trump Administration supported the opposition and blamed Maduro for violence and urged regional and international governments to take strong action against Caracas government. The 54 year old President Maduro blames US and its allies in the region for inciting violence to bring down his government.

After four months of protests against his government, President Maduro says that the Assembly is Venezuela’s only hope of achieving peace by locking in the socialist policies of his mentor and predecessor Late Hugo Chavez. However, it is observed that Maduro’s popularity has slumped under the weight of ongoing economic crisis in the country.

US Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama beginning Sunday.

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