After his trip to Colombia, Pence will travel to Argentina, Chile and Panama, representing the highest level tour of the Trump administration to the region.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will begin a two-day official visit Sunday to Colombia after President Donald Trump threatened neighboring Venezuela with potential military action.
Pence will make stops in Cartagena and Bogota and will meet with President Juan Manuel Santos. There is also possibility that Pence will go to Cucuta, located on the border with Venezuela.
On Thursday, Trump claimed that action needed to be taken against Venezuela and declared that all options remain on the table, including a potential military intervention.
“We have many options for Venezuela and by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option,” Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“A military operation and military option is certainly something that we could pursue.”
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Friday night that Trump’s threat was an “act of craziness” and “extremism.”
“With this extremist elite that’s in charge in the United States, who knows what will happen to the world?” Padrino asked.
Venezuela has been under constant attack from the Trump administration after the recent election of a National Constitutional Assembly charged with updating the country’s constitution. The United States has imposed a series of sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and more than two dozen current and former Venezuelan officials.
Maduro attempted to begin dialogue with Washington and requested a phone call with Trump on Friday. The White House said in a statement, however, that it rejected the request.
“President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country,” it said.
Trump’s threat of military intervention in Venezuela adds more attention to Pence’s upcoming tour of Latin America. After his trip to Colombia, Pence will travel to Argentina, Chile and Panama, representing the highest level tour of the Trump administration to the region.
“The vice president’s trip will highlight the divide between the past and present of Latin America,” said Jarrod Agen, a Pence spokesman, in a statement sent before Trump’s Thursday comments.
“Venezuela represents the past, with the failed path of tyranny and oppression, but Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama represent the future of freedom, opportunity and prosperity.”