President Donald Trump swiftly ratcheted up pressure on Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday, threatening an embargo against the Venezuelan president’s allies in Cuba while Secretary of State Michael Pompeo claimed the embattled leader had planned to flee the country.
The latest broadsides from the White House came after U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido attempted to end Maduro’s regime, calling on the military to join a popular uprising. They American moves underscored that the push, described by Guaido as the final chapter in his months-long effort to bring about a new government, represented a high-stakes test of Trump’s intervention in the battle for control of the oil-rich country.
Trump has bet heavily on Guaido, shrugging off his isolationist inclinations to rally allies in support of the opposition leader as the country’s lawful head of state. But the ambiguous outcome of Tuesday’s clashes, which ended with Maduro still in Caracas and a Guaido ally seeking asylum in the Chilean ambassador’s residence, threatened to deal a setback not only to the Venezuela opposition but also the credibility of the American campaign.