Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly, yells during a pro-opposition rally in Caracas, Venezuela (Photographer: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg)  

Venezuela Resolution Held Up Over Concerns About Military Action

(Bloomberg) -- A resolution recognizing Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela is stalled in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as Democrats seek to avoid giving President Donald Trump an endorsement for military intervention in the strife-torn country.

Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and the ranking member on the committee, said he was concerned about language in the resolution that “might be interpreted to be an authorization of the use of military force or to be used by the administration as such.”

Venezuela Resolution Held Up Over Concerns About Military Action

“We just want to make sure that the language is very clear that that is not something that we support or that this is not an authorization for the use of force,” Menendez said in an interview.

The U.S. and other countries recognized Guaido last week as Venezuela’s rightful president. Guaido so far hasn’t been able to sway the armed forces to his side but he’s tapped deep public discontent with an economy beset by hyperinflation and vast shortages of food and medicine.

Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy, another member of the committee, said he was worried about the U.S. standing in the region if Maduro remains in power despite American support for Guaido, the leader of the National Assembly. He likened it to the Obama administration’s repeated statements that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power.

“I worry about the credibility of the United States suffering if Maduro doesn’t fall,” Murphy said. “This is kind of like when we said Assad had to go but weren’t really prepared to do the things necessary to push him out of power. I worry that we’ve made a big noisy declaration about the future of Venezuela without really having the plan or willpower to make it happen.”

Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, said Friday that he was preparing to introduce the resolution this week. A Republican Foreign Relations aide familiar with the matter said that the two sides are in agreement on the substance of the policy but are working through some final language and expect to introduce it soon.

Menendez said he didn’t expect the resolution to come out until next week.

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