New revelations concerning the 1976 Bombing of Cubana Flight 455

Source:  Granma
October 6 2017

By  José Luis Méndez | informacion@granma.cu

New revelations concerning the 1976 Barbados attack

New information continues to come to light regarding this horrendous crime, which occurred 41 years ago this 2017, while the authors of the attack live out their lives in the United States, free and under the protection of the country’s government.

new revelations 1.jpgCuba will forever remember its martyrs and demand justice. Pictured: Cubans march to the Revolutionary Armed Forces Pantheon, in Havana’s Colón Cemetery, in tribute to the victims of the Barbados attack. Photo: Jose M. Correa

In June of 1976 a group of terrorists of Cuban origin, representatives of extremist organizations based in the United States, met in Bonao, the Dominican Republic.
The encounter was headed by the criminal Orlando Bosch Ávila, at that time a fugitive from U.S. justice, wanted for parole violation after being convicted of various crimes, including using terrorist tactics to extort Cuban émigrés.
The meeting was called to organize future attacks on Cuban entities, staff, and interests of countries which, despite pressure from the U.S., continued to maintain relations with the Cuban government.

Two meetings were held, the first to found the terrorist alliance known as the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (COR), and the second to plan more than 20 terrorist attacks.

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Pictured: flight engineer Ernesto Machín Guzmán (with a mustache), victim of the Barbados attack, with his Canadian trainer in the Cubana de Aviación plane that was bombed. Photo: Alberto Borrego

All those present agreed to participate, except members of the fascist Cuban Nationalist Movement (MNC), who claimed they were already planning another attack organized by Chile’s National Intelligence Bureau (DINA), later revealed to be none other than the assassination of former Chilean Ambassador in Washington, Orlando Letelier del Solar, on September 21, 1976.

In his ruling regarding Orlando Bosch-Avila’s application for admission to the United States, dated January 23, 1989, Associate Attorney General Joe D. Whitley noted that: “Bosch, while outside the United States, founded and let Coordinacion de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas (CORU), an anti-Castro terrorist organization which has claimed responsibility for numerous bombings in Miami, New York, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Argentina, and elsewhere. (1)

“In October, 1976, Bosch was arrested in Venezuela in connection with the October 6, 1976 in-flight bombing of a civilian Cuban airliner, which resulted in the deaths of 73 men, women, and children. Though detained in Venezuela for eleven years on charges arising from this incident, he was finally acquitted. At his trial, evidence was presented that the two men convicted of homicide in connection with the bombing were in contact with Bosch both before and after the bombing.”

Whitley went on to state, “Upon release from criminal incarceration on May 17, 1988, Bosch was taken into custody by the INS (Immigration Service). At that time, the INS District Director in Miami served Bosch with a notice of temporary exclusion, alleging that he was excludable from the United States because:There is reason to believe he would seek to enter the United States solely, principally, or incidentally to engage in activities prejudicial to the public interest.

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Manuel Espinosa, copilot of the Cubana de Aviación plane downed mid-flight over Barbados. Photo: Courtesy of Haymel

What is more the ruling also notes “That he is or has been an alien who advocates or teaches or has been a member of an organization that advocates or teaches the duty, necessity, or propriety of assaulting or killing officers of any organized government…the unlawful damage, injury or destruction of property… and advocates or teaches sabotage.
“That there are reasonable grounds to believe that he probably would, after entry, engage in activities which would be prohibited by the laws of the United States relating to espionage, sabotage, public disorder, or in other activity subversive to the national interest,” going on to note that “Bosch also is excludable on the grounds that he has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude.”

So, what happened next? Going against the Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s ruling the criminal was pardoned by then President George H. W. Bush who, it is important to note, was also director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) when the Cubana de Aviación plane was blown-up mid-flight on October 6, 1976. (2)

After years of investigations, Cuban-born international terrorist Pablo Gustavo Castillo Díaz (3), known as “El Cojo,” was revealed to be one of the material authors of the murder of Cuban technician Artaigñán Díaz Díaz, in July 1976, in Mexico.
Castillo then escaped to Venezuela, where he studied Cubana de Aviación’s flight routes across the Caribbean and chose the aircraft that would later be bombed.

It has also been proven that Orlando Bosch and Castillo were together when the former was arrested on October 11, 1976, in Caracas. Castillo was responsible for making the bombs – that would later be placed in the Cuban plane by Venezuelan mercenaries Freddy Lugo and Hernán Ricardo Lozano – using explosives and detonators supplied by an explosives expert from Venezuela’s national intelligence service at that time, DISIP, in exchange for a parachute which belonged to anti-Cuban terrorist Rolando Otero Hernández, who called himself “Cóndor” and worked for Luis Posada Carriles during Operation Condor, led by Chile’s National Intelligence Bureau.

Meanwhile, the complicity of the CIA, ever-present when it comes to assassination conspiracies or attacks, is exposed in its very own documents, which prove that it had prior knowledge of plans to blow-up the Cuban plane, but did nothing to prevent it, failing even to issue a simple and timely warning to Cuban authorities.
A declassified CIA report dated October 14, 1976, identified the informant –Posada – to be “a former Venezuelan government official” who “is usually a reliable reporter.”
The cable also notes that Bosch was overheard stating: “Now that our organization has come out of the Letelier job looking good, we are going to try something else.” Several days later Posada was reported to have stated, We are going to hit a Cuban airplane” and “Orlando has the details.”

After the bombing, Luis Posada Carriles thought it wise Orlando Bosch leave Venezuela, crossing over into Colombia on October 9.
More proof that the CIA also had prior knowledge of plans to bomb Cuban aircraft, is found in a secret report involving “sensitive intelligence sources and methods…not releasable to foreign nations,” or “contractors or contractor consultants” dated and issued June 22, 1976, which quotes an informant, a “Businessman with close ties to the Cuban exile community” and “a usually reliable” source, reported, “A Cuban exile group of which Orlando Bosch is a leader, plans to place a bomb on Cubana airline flight traveling between Panama and Havana. Original plans for this operation called for two bombs being placed on the June 21, 1976 Cubana flight number 467, which was scheduled to leave Panama at 11:15am local Panama time.” (4)

Copies of the report were sent to the U.S. State Department, Military Intelligence Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, FBI and CIA. This information however – which was not only known to the CIA four months prior to the October 6 attack which cost 73 people their lives, including 57 Cubans; but also detailed plans of the attack and identified the criminal Orlando Bosch as the author of the crime, was never sent to the Cuban government.

Everyone knows that sooner or later the truth comes out. New information continues to come to light regarding this horrendous crime, which occurred 41 years ago this 2017, while the authors of the attack live out their lives in the United States, free and under the protection of the country’s government. •

* Investigator at the State Security Historic Search Center

(1) File no. A28 851 622 of the Office of the Associate Attorney General

(2) The criminal Orlando Bosch Ávila died in the U.S. city of Miami without having ever been tried for his involvement in the terrorist attack.

(3) The terrorist was never punished for his crimes and died in Miami.

(4) For more information about the plan see the author’s book Cielo Amenazado.

The White Privilege of the “Lone Wolf” Shooter

Source:  The Intercept
October 2 2017

by Shaun King

mandalay bay shooting oct 2017.jpgLAST NIGHT, THE United States experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. At least 58 people are dead and over 500 more wounded. No, that’s not a typo: More than 500 were injured in one, single incident.

As tens of thousands enjoyed a music festival on the streets of Las Vegas, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, of Mesquite, Nevada, was perched 32 floors above them in his Mandalay Bay hotel room. Paddock had 19 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammo — supplies that are plentiful in a nation that has more guns than people. A few minutes after 10 p.m., Paddock opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd. They were sitting ducks.

No expensive wall along the Mexican border would’ve prevented this. No Muslim ban stopping immigrants and refugees from a few randomly selected countries from reaching our shores would’ve slowed this down.

Paddock, like the majority of mass shooters in this country, was a white American. And that simple fact changes absolutely everything about the way this horrible moment gets discussed in the media and the national discourse: Whiteness, somehow, protects men from being labeled terrorists.

The privilege here is that the ultimate conclusion about shootings committed by people from commonly nonwhite groups often leads to determinations about the corrosive or destructive nature of the group itself. When an individual claiming to be a Muslim commits a horrible act, many on the right will tell us Islam itself is the problem. For centuries, when an act of violence has been committed by an African-American, racist tropes follow — and eventually, the criminalization and dehumanization of an entire ethnic group.

mandalay bay shooting oct 2017 2.jpgA bloodied victim lies on the ground during a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas.:  Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

PRIVILEGE ALWAYS STANDS in contrast to how others are treated, and it’s true in this case, too: White men who resort to mass violence are consistently characterized primarily as isolated “lone wolves” — in no way connected to one another — while the most problematic aspects of being white in America are given a pass that nobody else receives.

Stephen Paddock’s whiteness has already afforded him many outrageous protections in the media.

While the blood was still congealing on the streets of Las Vegas, USA Today declared in a headline that Paddock was a “lone wolf.” And yet an investigation into his motivations and background had only just started. Police were only beginning to move to search his home and computers. His travel history had not yet been evaluated. No one had yet thoroughly scrutinized his family, friends, and social networks.

Stephen Paddock was declared a “lone wolf” before analysts even started their day, not because an exhaustive investigation produced such a conclusion, but because it is the only available conclusion for a white man in America who commits a mass shooting.

“Lone wolf” is how Americans designate many white suspects in mass shootings. James Holmes was called a “lone wolf” when he shot and killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. And Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who walked into a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and shot and killed the pastor and eight other parishioners, was quickly declared a “lone wolf.”

For people of color, and especially for Muslims, the treatment is often different. Muslims often get labeled as “terrorists” before all the facts have come out.

Just consider President Donald Trump. This morning, Trump tweeted, “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” That’s fine, but Trump doesn’t even seem angry. It’s peculiar that he didn’t call the shooter a “son of a bitch,” like he did the NFL players who took a knee during the anthem. He didn’t create an insulting nickname for Paddock, or make an immediate push for a policy proposal.

Compare that to how Trump treats incidents where he believes the assailants are Muslims. After a bomb exploded in the London subway, Trump tweeted that the attackers were “loser terrorists” — before British authorities had even named a suspect. He went on to immediately use the attack to push his Muslim ban.

We must ask ourselves: Why do certain acts of violence absolutely incense Trump and his base while others only elicit warm thoughts and prayers? This is the deadliest mass shooting in American history! Where is the outrage? Where are the policy proposals?

What we are witnessing is the blatant fact that white privilege protects even Stephen Paddock, an alleged mass murderer, not just from being called a terrorist, but from the anger, rage, hellfire, and fury that would surely rain down if he were almost anyone other than a white man. His skin protects him. It also prevents our nation from having an honest conversation about why so many white men do what he did, and why this nation seems absolutely determined to do next to nothing about it.

I spoke to two people this morning, one black and the other Muslim. Both of them said that, when they heard about this awful shooting in Las Vegas, they immediately began hoping that the shooter was not black or a Muslim. Why? Because they knew that the blowback on all African-Americans or Muslims would be fierce if the shooter hailed from one of those communities.

Something is deeply wrong when people feel a sense of relief that the shooter is white because they know that means they won’t suffer as a result. White people, on the other hand, had no such feeling this morning, because 400 years of American history tells them that no such consequences will exist for them today as a result of Stephen Paddock’s actions.

It is an exemplar of white privilege: not just being given a head start in society, but also the freedom from certain consequences of individual and group actions.

4 Things to Remember About Chile’s Sept. 11, 1973 Coup

Source:  TeleSUR
September 11 2017

salvador allende 4.pngChile remembers its socialist President Salvador Allende. | Photo: Reuters

Thousands of Chileans were subsequently tortured, jailed and killed by the military dictatorship.

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Pinochet and Kissinger

On Sept. 11, 1973, Salvador Allende’s socialist government was toppled by a U.S.-backed military coup led by Augusto Pinochet, barely three years after being Allende was elected.

 

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Thousands of Chileans were subsequently tortured, jailed and killed by the military dictatorship. Democracy in Chile was irreparably altered, and even now the country continues to be scarred by one of the darkest eras of fear and repression on the continent, changing the history of the country—and region.

Social Progress Under Allende

salvador allende 5.jpg

After winning the 1970 presidential elections in Chile, the left-wing Salvador Allende worked toward social reforms and justice, nationalizing natural resources, building homes for the poor and focusing on better access to health and education.

Allende fought until the last hours of his life to defend the social gains and constitutional order. On his last speech, just minutes before the military bombed the presidential palace, he gave Chileans one last message of hope.

“I will not resign. Placed in a historic transition, I will pay the loyalty of the people with my life. And I tell them I have the certainty that the seed that we have planted in the dignified conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled. You have the power, they can destroy us, but social progress cannot be stopped neither by crime nor by force. History is ours, and people make it happen.”

Military Repression

Allende’s own army chief, Augusto Pinochet, led the coup and ordered his forces to march through the streets of Santiago, intimidating the local populace and entering La Moneda Presidential Palace by force.

military repression in chile.jpgPinochet later consolidated power with the support of the United States and ruled the country with an iron fist for 17 years, until 1990. He jailed an estimated 80,000 people, tortured 30,000 and murdered around 3,200. Only 75 of more than a thousand of his former agents are serving prison sentences for human rights violations.

U.S. Intervention

pinochet in chile.jpgWith the success of the 1969 revolution in Cuba, leftist movements in Latin America were emboldened, and Washington’s Manichean Cold War world-view translated into fears—and policies—that affected much of South America.

As declassified CIA documents show, the government of Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger influenced the military to overthrow Allende, and provided resources to deter any leftist movements in the country through the CIA.

As fears of the “Red Scare” grew, Washington opposed any form of socialist gains on the belief they would affect U.S. economic and political interests in the hemisphere.

Dubbed Operation Condor, a brutal campaign of political repression and state terror took hold of the continent, as the United States sought to obliterate leftist movements opposed to Washington-backed military coups in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay — and Chile.

Modern Democracy

michelle bachelet 5.jpgMore than 25 years since the end of the dictatorships, social movements in Chile are still demanding that the remnants of the Pinochet regime — including the constitution passed in 1980 — be overturned.

After the coup, Pinochet’s government adopted a constitution that defended repression of basic liberties and rights and created a convoluted electoral system designed to favor right-wing parties.

Under Michelle Bachelet’s second government, a process to change the constitution has been passed and is currently being undertaken. While popular consultations are underway, many consider the measure to be inadequate, and unlikely to lead to a reform that will include meaningful input by Chileans.

‘Venezuela not Enemy or Threat to US’: Open Letter to People in US

Source:  TeleSUR
September 6 2017

venezuelan women in support aug 2017.jpgVenezuelan women in support of their government. | Photo: EFE

“As was the case in Iraq, we might be on the verge of an unfair and baseless military intervention, where oil is paramount,” the letter says.

An open letter from the people of Venezuela to their counterparts in the United States urges them to demand U.S. President Donald Trump stop its “warmongering” and called on the people to join Venezuela in defending peace, freedom, and cooperation between the two nations.

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The letter, which was published in the New York Times and the Hill, includes Trump’s recent threat of a direct military intervention and the unilateral economic sanctions on the country, that the letter notes is intended “to economically isolate Venezuela.

“These threats and unilateral decisions will affect our economy and our means to obtain resources for food, healthcare and production, seriously impairing our citizens’ everyday life,” the letter says.

It further states that this was recognized by the U.S. government to be the same plan used in 1973 to overthrow the government of Salvador Allende in Chile which paved the way for the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

letter from the venezuelan people to the us.jpeg“Furthermore, these actions also affect ordinary U.S. citizens who would face the possibility of a hike in gasoline prices,” says the open letter. “While thousands of workers risk losing their hard-earned savings as retirement funds are affected by the ban on Venezuelan bonds.”

As was the case in Iraq

The letter, which was published by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, warns, “As was the case in Iraq, we might be on the verge of an unfair and baseless military intervention, where oil is paramount.”

RELATED:  Venezuelan Constituent Assembly Passes Decree Against US Sanctions

These actions create problems inside the U.S. making life harder, while outside it “generates global rejection and resentment towards the U.S. government and indirectly towards its people, who have nothing to do with these warmongering actions,” the letter explains.

The latest sanctions ban the trading of Venezuelan debt and prevent the country’s state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, from selling new bonds to U.S. citizens or financial groups.

Venezuela is neither an enemy of the United States nor does it represent a threat to its security,” the text says.

US Workers Strike in ‘Fight for $15’ Minimum Wage Campaign

Source:  TeleSUR
September 4 2017

washington protests sept 2017.jpgProtesters in Washington, D.C. | Photo: Twitter / MaryKayHenry

by Ramzy Baroud

“My tooth is killing me, but I can’t afford to go to a dentist. I’m skipping meals so my sons can eat. And I’m worrying all the time,” said Bettie Douglas.

Over 300 cities joined the protests

Workers across the United States have walked off their jobs this Labor Day as non-unionized minimum wage workers join the “Fight for $15” to raise the nation’s minimum wage to match the cost of living.

RELATED:  McDonald’s UK Staff Not ‘Lovin’ It,’ Walk out in First-Ever Strike

Over 300 cities joined the protests, with workers’ strikes beginning at 6 a.m. in cities like Boston, Richmond, Chicago, New Orleans, Milwaukee, and San Diego, among others, to protest the country’s US$7.25 federal minimum wage.

Protesters targeted both McDonald’s as well as the American Hospital Association.

us workers protest sept 2017.jpg

“You know, a lot of these people out here today are living in poverty and they’re tired of it, and they want some respect on their checks,” long-time fast-food worker, Jacqueline Short said. “They want $15 an hour and we’re out here because we believe that we will get it, we believe we will win, as long as we continue to fight.”

Minimum-wage workers are fighting back, calling on representatives to act in defense of people who have struggled to manage households on minimum wage amid the rise in inflation and the cost of living.

Forced to skip meals

“My tooth is killing me, but I can’t afford to go to a dentist. I’m skipping meals so my sons can eat. And I’m worrying all the time,” said Bettie Douglas.

“The minimum wage has always separated my family — we’ve either been at work or at school,” explained McDonald’s worker, Sabreal Ealem, to Gambit. “We rarely see each other. The minimum wage is separating families — not just mine,” she said.

Statistics show in Boston, a median household income has only grown an annual 0.5 percent since 1979, while the cost of living has continued to climb in the New England city.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 about 45 percent of the 2.6 million working at hourly wages at or below the federal minimum were older than 24 years, while 23.3 percent were aged 25 to 34, both figures remaining constant over the past decade.

“The number one job of politicians is to raise the standard of living for workers,” Fight for $15’s call to action reads on the movement’s site.

To match the varied cost of living throughout the country, 29 states across the U.S. have raised their minimum wages from anywhere between US$3-US$8, with California State Governor Brown increasing its minimum wage to US$15 an hour by 2022.

The Fight for $15 began in 2012 when 200 fast-food workers walked away from their stations in protest of the low wages and lack of union representation.

Brazilian Social Movements Turn Out In Show of Support for Venezuela

Source: TeleSUR
Published 1 September 2017

brazil supports venezuela.jpgStudents from 83 organizations and 42 countries, gathered in Brazil last
month, in solidarity with Venezuela. | Photo: Twitter / @MST_Oficial

“We want to position ourselves, to put, above all, the anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggle that unifies us,” said the event’s organizers.

Social movements in Brazil have turned out to show solidarity with Venezuela, demonstrating in Sao Paulo in support of Venezuela’s sovereignty and its democratic process.

RELATED: Maduro Invites All to World Solidarity Summit with Venezuela

The Brazilian Committee for Peace in Venezuelaorganized the event, calling on “the people of Brazil to cooperate in the defense of democracy and self-determination of Venezuelans, their right to live in peace and to define their own destiny.”

In a statement, the committee announced, “We want to position ourselves, to put, above all, the anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggle that unifies us.”

“The Brazilian Committee for Peace in Venezuela’s event begins.”

Social movements and political parties including the Landless Workers Movement (MST), Popular Front Brazil and People Without Fear have been attending the rally.

“What is happening in Venezuela is an offense … both externally, international, imperialist and interventionist, as well as internally, in the opposition, which has carried various acts of violence,” said Paola Estrada, from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.

Other speakers publicly denounced actions targeting Venezuela by the U.S. government, including the sanctions announced last week, as well as threats of military intervention made earlier this month by the U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Ex-Chancellor Celso Amorim is present (at our event). Amorim was Foreign Minister of Itamar Franco under the two Lula governments, and Defense Minister (under) Dilma Rousseff.”

“At the moment when the fascist Trump speaks of ‘military options’ against our neighboring nation, we cannot hesitate to defend the peace of the Bolivarian revolution,” said the founder of the Barón de Itararé Center for Studies in Alternative Media, Altamiro Borges.

Venezuela to Donate $5M to Harvey Victims in Texas

Source:  TeleSUR
August 30 2017

“Let’s not allow war or threats to be imposed, but instead let’s impose solidarity. We will always be with the people of the United States and the peoples of the world in difficult times,” Arreaza said

Hurricane Harvey 2.jpgHouston residents trudge through floodwaters. | Photo: AFP

Venezuela has extended its solidarity to the victims of Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has announced that the South American country will be donating US$5 million to help with recovery efforts in areas devastated by Harvey, particularly Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas.

RELATEDVenezuelan Constituent Assembly Passes Decree Against US Sanctions

“Let’s not allow war or threats to be imposed, but instead let’s impose solidarity. We will always be with the people of the United States and the peoples of the world in difficult times,” Arreaza said.

jorge arreaza venezuela

Jorge Arreaza

He explained that President Nicolas Maduro has approved a special program to help the victims in the states of Louisiana and Texas.

The plan was approved by U.S. authorities and the cities’ mayors, according to Arreaza.

The diplomat indicated that a percentage of the sales of gas from Citgo will be destined for the construction of houses for the people affected. Citgo is a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, based in Houston.

Arreaza also said that he will be sending a letter Wednesday to the charge d’affaires at the United States embassy to deliver the construction project, adding that Venezuela has offered rescue workers, doctors, and other specialized personnel to help with the situation on the ground.

President of Citgo Nelson Martinez said the company was “going to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of those affected, with its support plan for construction.”

Citgo operations were forced to shut down at its Corpus Christi, Texas facilities, near where Harvey made landfall Friday, but are reportedly on their way to restarting in the next few days.

RELATEDExperts Say Climate Change Intensified Hurricane Harvey

In an announcement Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a decree imposing new economic sanctions on Venezuela. The latest U.S. sanctions ban trades of Venezuelan debt and prevent PDVSA from selling new bonds to U.S. citizens or financial groups. Trades of existing bonds commissioned by Caracas will also be barred.

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington D.C., said the new round of sanctions is “severe” and is on a level never seen before, making Trump’s cursory threats of military intervention against the Bolivarian state highly plausible.

The government has said that the sanctions target the Venezuelan people, affecting food and medicine supplies, which has led to international condemnation of the U.S. measures.

The new sanctions come weeks after Trump said that a “military option” has not been ruled out against Venezuela.