US President Donald Trump has said he is not ruling out a military option in dealing with the crisis in Venezuela.
“The people are suffering and they are dying,” he said.
Venezuela’s Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino said President Trump’s suggestion was “an act of craziness”.
President Nicolas Maduro’s new constituent assembly has been widely criticised as anti-democratic. The US recently imposed sanctions on President Maduro, branding him a dictator.
“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” Mr Trump told reporters on Friday evening.
“We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they’re dying.”
The White House later said that President Maduro had requested a phone call with the American president.
In response, the White House said Mr Trump would gladly speak to his Venezuelan counterpart, when democracy had been restored in the country.