Venezuela needs a leader who can fight corruption, who will not hand over power to the Cubans or request Russian intervention, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while on a visit to Paraguay.
“Maduro and his henchmen have destroyed this nation. The Venezuelan people can see that very plainly. It’s why they didn’t want him back. They gave power to the National Assembly, now Juan Guaido, in a way that will ultimately deliver true democracy and prosperity back to Venezuela. You know the history. This is a rich nation, a wealthy nation, a nation of people who are industrious and are prepared to work very, very hard. What they need is a leader who is prepared to help them, not be corrupt, not turn over power to the Cubans, and demand interventions to save them by the Russians,” Voice of America cites Pompeo as saying.
Pompeo remarked that sometimes people think that Maduro is winning, but he has actually handed over all of his power to the Cubans and the Russians.
“This is weakness from Maduro. And so this weakness will ultimately lead to his departure, and democracy and prosperity will be restored in Venezuela,” the secretary of state observed.
“The Russians will say the Americans shouldn’t intervene in Venezuela. I mean, it’s almost funny to say, right? They have intervened in the most fundamental ways. The Cubans own the security apparatus. I would think if you were a Venezuelan military leader, you’d be embarrassed by that, right? The people of Venezuela want their own security. They want their own democracy. They want Venezuelans to lead their nation, not people from a small island, not people from Russia. They want their country to be led by their own people, and that’s… what the United States stands ready to support,” Pompeo said.
Russia recently stepped up its presence in Venezuela, sending two military planes full of soldiers and equipment to support the Maduro regime at the end of March. In response to this, Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a phone call that the US “will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela”.
Officially Russia claimed that the soldiers had been sent to Venezuela as part of an existing military and technology collaboration agreement. However, Pompeo made it clear that the White House’s warnings concerning Venezuela are “part of a broader campaign to deter Russian aggression in the Western hemisphere”.