According to Arreaza, the day before Trump announced the military option was on the table on August 8 last year, he had held a meeting with his then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser HR McMaster, asking them why the US doesn’t finish off Venezuelan president Nicolas Madura through a military operation. According to Arreaza, Tillerson and McMaster managed to convince Trump not to do so. Despite the realpolitik, Tillerson had embarked on a Latin American tour defending the Monroe Doctrine, calling for an oil embargo of Venezuela and hinting at a military coup.
Both policymakers have now been replaced by ultra right wing neo-conservatives - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton - who are arguably far more extreme than their predecessors and may not stand in Trump’s way as far as orchestrating a military intervention in Venezuela. The spokesperson of the US administration has stated that the US will use all its available resources to achieve its political objective of “overthrowing” the government of Venezuela.
The strategy leading to what may become an eventual military intervention is economic warfare. The US intends to stifle the Venezuelan economy, push the society towards internal civil conflict and create the conditions for a so-called “humanitarian intervention”, which is the cover for a military coup. In order to exacerbate an economic crisis, the US has been preventing Venezuela from accessing funding sources and interfered with the country’s international trade, thereby sabotaging the purchase of food, medicines and essential goods.
The US has hampered international payment transactions and frozen the legitimate financial resources of Venezuela in banks and other financial entities. In an attempt to leverage alternative sources of funding, Venezuela has managed to secure a $5 billion (R68bn) loan from the Development Bank of China to increase its oil development. The US has also unilaterally imposed sanctions on Venezuela, targeting government officials and military staff, as well as individuals and companies identified as politically or economically related to the government.