Venezuela expected to dominate Pence's Latin American trip

Caracas has since responded to the threat and is preparing defense measures

That statement drew quick condemnation, including from the Colombian Foreign Ministry, which opposed any "military measures and the use of force", and said efforts to resolve Venezuela's breakdown in democracy should be peaceful and respect its sovereignty.

Maduro's actions have precipitated an economic collapse and drawn global condemnation, including from President Trump, who on Friday warned of a "possible military option" to confront Maduro's government.

Mora stressed that the saying, "threats are often ineffective, and idle threats always are", applies in this case, because "unless the Maduro government took more drastic action against USA interests, President Trump would have an impossible task in rallying support on Capitol Hill or among the American public for any substantial military move in Venezuela", and the worldwide community would be even less cooperative.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said USA military action in his country would be a "crazy act".

"There is an extremist elite in the United States government", he added, "and I really don't know what is happening and what will happen in the world".

Three terrorists, two army soldiers killed in Shopian encounter
Police officials said that the security forces were conducting a search operation when the militants opened fire at them. Supporting the militants, locals have been reported to have pelted stones on the forces as soon as the firing started.

Anti-government activists stand near a barricade burning in flames in Venezuela's third city, Valencia, on August 6, 2016, a day after a new assembly with supreme powers and loyal to President Nicolas Maduro started functioning in the country. Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru all issued messages rejecting such a step.

Bolivian President Evo Morales also condemned on Saturday the "armed interventionist eagerness by the U.S. against Venezuela", slamming the worldwide community for keeping silent. Still, he found his way around to talking up the possibility of attacking Venezuela as well.

The tour is dominated by the crisis in Venezuela and how USA "partners and friends" were looking to the "future" regarding that country, while others were stuck in the "past", a senior United States administration official said.

Also Friday, the White House said Venezuela's Maduro had requested a phone call with Trump. He will fly midday Monday to Buenos Aires, where he will meet Tuesday with Argentina's president, Mauricio Macri, and give a speech about regional trade and security partnerships to representatives of the Argentine and Latin American business community. More than 120 people have died in anti-government protests since April.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes announced that Brazil does not support military intervention in Venezuela.

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