By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump warned Wednesday that "all options are on the table" with respect to Venezuela.
"Every one. The strong ones, and the less than strong ones. Every option — and you know what I mean by strong," Trump said while in New York for the UN General Assembly. "We're going to take care of the people of Venezuela."
The comments are the most explicit threat of military action after Trump refused to rule out the option during remarks to reporters Tuesday.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that American officials held talks with a former Venezuelan military commander to stage a coup in the Latin American nation, but Washington eventually decided against supporting the putsch.
Venezuela has been wracked by skyrocketing inflation, and its petroleum-centric economy has been devastated by the global decline in the price of oil.
Since 2015, roughly 1.6 million Venezuelans have fled the country due to shortages of basic necessities and hyperinflation, flooding its Latin American neighbors such as Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
To try to contain the rising flow of migrants, Peru has recently started requiring Venezuelan citizens to provide their passports to enter the country.
Thirteen regional countries joined in a two-day summit that took place in Quito, Ecuador on Sept. 3 – 4 to address the migrant crisis and coordinate a regional response.
Eleven of the Latin American nations signed a joint statement calling for more funding to tackle Venezuela’s migrant crisis.
The regional block also asked Venezuelan authorities to provide citizens with travel documents to facilitate their mobility across the continent.
“We exhort the Venezuelan government to take urgent actions to provide the needed identification and travel documents to its citizens such as ID cards, passports and birth certificates,” it said.