President Donald Trump has announced he is not ruling out a military option in dealing with the crisis in Venezuela.
The president said: “The people are suffering and they are dying.”
Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said President Trump’s suggestion was “an act of craziness”.
President Nicolas Maduro’s new constituent assembly has been widely criticized as anti-democratic. The US recently imposed sanctions on Nicolas Maduro, branding him a dictator.
President Trump told reporters on August 11: “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.
“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 President Trump.
In response, the White House said President Trump would gladly speak to his Venezuelan counterpart, when democracy had been restored in the country.
Regional pressure on the Venezuelan government has continued, with Peru ordering the expulsion of the Venezuelan ambassador from Lima after Caracas sent an “unacceptable” response to regional condemnation of its new constituent assembly.
Ambassador Diego Molero has five days to leave Peru, officials say.
The move by Peru’s foreign ministry, announced in a statement on Twitter, follows the condemnation by 11 other major countries in the Americas of Venezuela’s controversial constituent assembly.
The new body has the ability to rewrite the constitution and could override the opposition-controlled parliament, the National Assembly.
In a separate development, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a fierce critic of Nicolas Maduro, has urged him to resign, saying he lost any credibility after the election of the new body.
Pablo Kuczynski told Reuters: “He’s a dictator and has carried out a coup through a fraudulent election to eliminate Congress.”
The Peruvian president also rejected an offer from Presidnet Maduro to meet face-to-face.
The Venezuelan opposition, which boycotted the election for the constituent assembly, accuses Nicolas Maduro of trying to cling on to power, which he denies.
Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly said that the new assembly would bring peace to Venezuela.
Violent demonstrations since April have left more than 120 people dead in Venezuela.