H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, said Saturday that U.S. intervention in the rapidly deteriorating socialist country of Venezuela was unlikely.
McMaster, in an interview on MSNBC, said he didn’t want to give Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro the chance to further blame “Yankees” from the U.S. for his country’s economic failures.
“It’s important for us to place responsibility for this catastrophe on Maduro’s shoulders. He is the one who has caused it, and he’s the one who’s perpetuating it,” the three-star general said.
The Trump administration already has placed sanctions on Venezuela, following a recent vote there to establish a constitutional assembly that has power over all other branches of government.
McMaster has previously called on other nations to “rescue” Venezuela from Maduro’s “authoritarian dictatorship.”
His comments came as the newly established Constituent Assembly voted to fire Venezuela’s attorney general, Luisa Ortega Diaz, who has been a steady critic of Maduro.
Dozens of Venezuela’s National Guard members surrounded Diaz’s office Saturday and refused to allow her entry.
Diaz said the troops “attacked” her with riot shields to prevent her from entering the building.
“This is a dictatorship,” she told reporters.
The assembly, which is made up of more than 530 members, most of whom are Maduro supporters, is expected to rewrite the country’s constitution in order to cede more power to Maduro.
It was elected last weekend in a national election that was boycotted by opposition supporters and called a “sham” by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
“Maduro’s sham election is another step toward dictatorship. We won’t accept an [illegitimate government],” she said in a post on Twitter. “The Venezuelan [people] & democracy will prevail.”
The United States, European Union and several Latin American countries have said they will not recognize the assembly.