Hint to Maduro? ‘5,000 Troops to Colombia,' Reads Bolton Notepad

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A White House spokesman did nothing to quash the speculation about possible USA troop deployments to Colombia.

In response to being showed the photo by Reuters journalist, a White House spokesperson stated: "As the president has said, all options are on the table".

U.S. national security advisor, John Bolton, has been photographed holding a notepad with the words: "5,000 troops to Colombia" written on it. "The interagency led by the National Security Council and ambassador Bolton created a number of options".

The move came after President Trump last week took on Venezuela's leftist authoritarian leader by recognizing Juan Guaidó, the 35-year-old head of the National Assembly, as the country's legitimate head of state.

Sending U.S. military troops to Colombia would escalate tensions with Venezuela, even as its opposition leader Juan Guaido has said a peaceful transition of power is possible.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said the number of US military personnel in Colombia remained unchanged as part of a pre-existing partnership. Omar is one of only a handful of lawmakers who have condemned USA support for the opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

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Secretary of State Michael Pompeo directed most of his agency's personnel to leave Venezuela, but the U.S. Embassy in Caracas will remain in operation with a skeleton staff. Department of State Travel issued a level 4 travel advisory to Venezuela on January 29, due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary detention of USA citizens.

The United States has placed sweeping new sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA in the latest attempt to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

In a statement, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said they would provide a 30-day window for negotiating with US officials about setting up a "U.S. interests office" in Venezuela and a similar Venezuelan office in the United States.

Colombia's Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, in a statement late on Monday, said: "We are not aware of the significance or the reason" for Bolton's notes.

Whilst China and Russian Federation have pledged their support for Maduro with the latter accusing the U.S. of trying to seize power in Venezuela.