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CÚCUTA, Colombia: The head of the Organisation of American States on Friday said ‘military intervention’ to ‘overthrow’ Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuelan government must not be ruled out for the country mired in economic and humanitarian crisis.

“With regards to a military intervention aimed at overthrowing the regime of Nicolas Maduro, I think we should not exclude any option,” OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro told journalists in the Colombian city of Cucuta, near the border with Venezuela.

His comments follow a report in The New York Times last Saturday that officials from US President Donald Trump’s administration met secretly with Venezuelan military officers to discuss plans to oust Maduro, but eventually decided not to help.

Almagro – dubbed an “interventionist” by Maduro – said Caracas was committing “crimes against humanity” against its citizens.

“Suffering of the people, in the induced exodus that it is driving, puts diplomatic actions in first place, but we should not rule out any action,” he said.

The OAS leader on Friday ended a three-day visit to Colombia concerning the wave of migrants fleeing there from oil-rich but impoverished Venezuela.

Venezuela is mired in a deep economic crisis that has triggered the departure of 1.6 million Venezuelans since 2015, according to the United Nations. Colombia has received more than one million of the migrants.

Venezuelan vice-president Delcy Rodriguez has said her government complained to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that “individual officials” have been portraying “a normal migratory flow as a humanitarian crisis to justify an intervention.” — AFP

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