On February 5, Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House. In a statement announcing Guaidó’s visit, the White House said, “We will continue to work with our partners in the region to confront the illegitimate dictatorship in Venezuela, and will stand alongside the Venezuelan people to ensure a future that is democratic and prosperous.”
Guaidó’s visit to Washington followed visits with European and Canadian leaders, part of his campaign against Maduro.
The United States and other countries blame Maduro’s socialist policies for the political and economic crisis that threatens regional stability, while recognizing Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate interim leader. Guaidó was a guest at Trump’s State of the Union speech in Washington on February 4 and received a standing ovation.
National security issue
Ahead of the meeting between Trump and Guaidó, a senior Trump administration official told reporters Venezuela was a national security priority “in the sense of the destabilizing effect that it has on its neighbors.” The official said the country was responsible for “harboring narcotraffickers” and “narco-terrorists,” adding that Venezuela had become a primary point of narcotics trafficking to Central America, Mexico, and therefore the United States.
The official also said the U.S. was using “all of the tools in our box available” to respond.