WASHINGTON — As the political standoff in Venezuela between Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaidó drags on, U.S. officials are still considering how to improve the humanitarian crisis there.
Sen. Rick Scott (R) of Florida is urging the U.S. military to get involved.
- Scott calls for U.S. troops to distribute aid across Venezuela
- He said "Maduro has put us in a horrible position"
- Aide with Sen. Marco Rubio's office declined to take position
Scott's call for U.S. troops to distribute aid across Venezuela is the strongest statement made by an elected official yet.
"It's not the first thing we ought to be doing, but we have to understand it's something we have to do," Scott said in an interview with Spectrum News.
Maduro continues to block some humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela and Scott said it's time for the U.S. to intervene.
"I worry about what's going to happen. What's our choice. Maduro has put us in a horrible position," Scott said. "We cannot allow a humanitarian crisis in our hemisphere. Florida is closeby."
Since Maduro and Guaido have been locked in a power struggle, the situation has continued to deteriorate with nationwide blackouts and severe shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel.
The Junior Senator acknowledges sending troops into the country without Maduro's approval could escalate the standoff, but he acknowledges the other options on the table aren't working.
"My first choice is that the sanctions work and that we do everything we can and the generals come to their senses," Scott said.
Scott's strong rhetoric comes weeks after Russia sent two military planes to Venezuela. In recent days, other Florida lawmakers emphasized how serious the situation is.
"I believe this is more dangerous for the national security interests of the United States than a lot of the things that have gotten attention over the years in the Middle East," said Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R) of Florida's 25th District.
It's unclear if other lawmakers will stand with Scott in his call for action.
"Everyone has got to decide what's important to them, but it’s important to me," he said.
An aide with Sen. Marco Rubio's office declined to take a position on military intervention in Venezuela at this time. Scott brought up the topic with the President during a trip to the White House to discuss disaster relief on Thursday.