Cuba Accuses U.S. of Sending Special Forces to Caribbean for 'Military Aggression' Against Venezuela

Cuba, US, special, forces, military, Venezuela
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez speaks during a press conference in Havana, on October 24, 2018. Cuba’s foreign minister lashed out at the U.S., alleging it is preparing for “military aggression” against Venezuela. ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

Cuba's foreign minister has denounced the United States, accusing the country of sending special forces troops to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other nations in the Caribbean to prepare for "military aggression" against Venezuela.

Posting on Twitter late Wednesday evening, Bruno Rodriguez lashed out at the U.S., alleging that it was sending the special forces without informing the Caribbean islands' governments.

"Cuba denounces the movements of special operations forces of the U.S. to the airports of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other countries in the Caribbean, without the knowledge of their governments," the foreign minister wrote in Spanish. "Continuing the preparation of a military aggression against Venezuela with a humanitarian pretext," he added.

President Donald Trump has backed Venezuela's political opposition leader Juan Guaidó against President Nicolas Maduro. Guiadó, who leads the Latin American nation's National Assembly, last month declared himself interim president and has called for new elections. In addition to the U.S., the Venezuelan politician has been backed by the European Union and many other countries in the Americas. Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Cuba and other countries have supported Maduro, who has called Guaidó's actions a "coup."

Trump and his administration have maintained that "all options are on the table" regarding Maduro's removal, suggesting military intervention is possible. On Wednesday, Trump was asked directly whether he planned to send troops to Colombia to pressure Venezuela's government further, he responded by saying, "You'll see."

The Trump administration has appointed Elliott Abrams as special envoy to Venezuela. Activists and some politicians have raised concerns about the diplomat's appointment, citing his record of misleading Congress and supporting brutal regimes and militants in Latin America. Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, from Minnesota, questioned Abrams directly about his past actions during a House Foreign Affairs hearing on Wednesday.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó (left) smiles during a gathering with supporters in Caracas, Venezuela, on February 2. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (right) delivers a speech during the ceremony of recognition by the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) at the Fuerte Tiuna Military Complex, in Caracas, on January 10. STF/AFP/Getty Images

"Would you support an armed faction within Venezuela that engages in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, if you believed they were serving U.S. interests, as you did in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua?" Omar asked.

Abrams initially refused to answer, but after being pressed by Omar he said it is "always the position of the United States" to protect people against such human rights violations.

Under Maduro's leadership, Venezuela has experienced the worst economic crisis in its modern history, with inflation surpassing 1 million percent. Millions of Venezuelans have fled the country as refugees, primarily to nearby South American nations such as Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador. Although many analysts point to mismanagement and corruption by the government, Maduro and other experts allege that international sanctions are to blame.