U.S. military official: no plans for Venezuela military intervention

WASHINGTON, Sept 25 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead U.S. military operations in Latin America said on Tuesday there is no planning under way for any kind of military option to address the economic and political crisis in Venezuela.

Navy Vice Admiral Craig Faller, the nominee to lead the U.S. Southern Command, was asked at his Senate confirmation hearing whether there had been suggestions from Trump or other top U.S. officials that preparations should be made for “surgical or other” military action.

“We are not doing anything other than normal prudent planning that a combatant command would do to prepare for a range of contingencies,” Faller said in a response to a question from Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.

Venezuela accused the United States this month of seeking an intervention and supporting military conspiracies following a New York Times report that the Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers over the last year to discuss a plan to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Faller also spoke during the hearing of the military’s plans to support Venezuela’s neighbors Colombia, Ecuador and Peru as they deal with migrants fleeing Venezuela due to the country’s economic crisis, including plans to send a U.S. Navy hospital ship, the Comfort. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Idrees Ali; Editing by Bill Berkrot)