Commander: US Naval Buildup in Caribbean Not Aimed at Ousting Maduro

Admiral says US wants to oust Venezuelan leader through economic pressure

US Southern Command chief Admiral Craig Faller said in an interview that the growing US buildup in the Caribbean does not represent a change in Venezuelan policy, and is not aimed at removing President Maduro from power.

Faller said that the US continues to want to oust Maduro through “economic and diplomatic pressure,” and not military force, though other officials have said the US would not rule out the use of military force to do so.

When the US started this latest buildup in the Caribbean, it was done nominally to fight drugs, and came immediately after the US put a bounty on Maduro accusing him of drug smuggling. Attorney General Barr created the legal basis for this.

This was why there was substantial concern about a US military invasion, as Barr had similarly constructed the pretext to invade Panama in 1989 and remove Manuel Noriega. It was conceivable, after failing to oust Maduro other ways, that they might revisit the old tactic.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of