National Security Adviser John Bolton was probably having a moment of oblivion as he gave a full view of two scribbled lines on a yellow legal notepad to the reporters at a White House briefing on Monday.
A handwritten line on the pad read, “5,000 troops to Colombia”, which led to an inrush of a combination of alarm and scorn on Twitter. Many raised questions whether the Trump administration is planning to dispatch military groups to the South American country.
John Bolton was photographed with the notepad, revealing the blue-ink lines while he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced new sanctions on Columbia’s neighbor Venezuela, discussing the crisis there.
On Monday, the White House announced sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA in an attempt to disable the power base of embattled President Nicolas Maduro. Besides, they recognize the opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela.
Last week when President Donald Trump was asked if the US was prepared to intervene militarily, he had said that “all options are on the table”.
During the briefing, John Bolton reiterated the President’s viewpoint, saying, “The president has made it clear on this matter that all options are on the table.”
According to media reports, Washington’s sanctions came to prevent the leftist Maduro from looting the reserves of Venezuela, before Guaido, whom the US considers a rightful interim president, replaces him.
An indignant Maduro accused the US of attempting to “steal Citgo”, and assured to file legal action over the new sanctions.
Mnuchin told reporters, “The purpose of sanctions is to change behavior.”
“So when there is a recognition that the company is the property of, the rightful rulers, the rightful leaders, then indeed that money will be available to Guaido,” he added.
The notepad that John Bolton carried, also had the line, “Afghanistan – welcome the talks”, which came as a reference to a potential breakthrough in discussions with the Taliban.
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