Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan would not rule out sending U.S. military forces to Colombia or the region in connection with the ongoing political upheaval in Venezuela.

Shanahan told reporters Tuesday that he hasn’t spoken to national security adviser John Bolton about sending troops to Colombia. But he said he wouldn’t comment when asked if he had other conversations about such a plan or if he could rule it out.

Bolton had “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on a notepad he held during a news conference Monday announcing new sanctions on Venezuela.

President Donald Trump is backing Venezuelan congress leader Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself interim president in the opposition’s confrontation with President Nicolas Maduro.

Colombia shares a 1,370-mile (2,200-kilometer) border with Venezuela and also is backing Guaido.

National security adviser John Bolton listens during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, Jan. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
National security adviser John Bolton listens during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, Jan. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

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