On April 30, U.S. government leaders reiterated their support for the people of Venezuela, following Interim President Juan Guaido's announcement of the start of Operación Libertad.
Secretary Pompeo addressed the situation in Venezuela in an interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN saying, "We’ve watched the events unfold today. We’re urging there to be a nonviolent solution. Maduro simply should leave. It’s his time. He has no answers for the Venezuelan people, and the United States is determined to assist the Venezuelan people in restoring democracy and beginning to build back their economy."
The Secretary discussed various scenarios in Venezuela calling the situation "fluid." The Secretary also commented on the roles of Russia and Cuba in the country. "Maduro’s surrounded by Cubans and has been supported by Russians there in Venezuela. And we’ve told the Russians and we’ve told the Cubans that’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to starve people. It’s unacceptable to allow sick children not to be able to get their medicine. The nations of the region, the Lima Group, the Organization of American States, are all demanding that we get democracy restored and that we get dignity back to this once great nation," he said.
In an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News the Secretary discussed reports the Maduro was planning to leave Venezuela by plane to Havana, Cuba. Secretary Pompeo stated, "He’d made a decision that we’ve been urging him to make for quite some time, and then he was diverted from that action by the Russians. We hope he’ll reconsider and get back on that plane. We’ve made it very clear: We support the National Assembly and their interim President Juan Guaido, and we’re supporting the Venezuelan people in their hour where it’s time to get it right and begin to build back their economy so that starving children can eat and those that are sick can actually get medicine that’s sitting on the nation’s very border."
On Cuba and Russia's involvement, the Secretary said, "It’s very clear the Cubans and the Russians understand that they are upsetting the duly elected leader there in Venezuela. They know that. I hear sometimes people saying, well, the United States is considering an invasion. The invasion has taken place. The Cubans have thousands of their officers inside of Venezuela today. They are not there with the consent of the government; they’re there with the consent of the thug Nicolas Maduro, but not Juan Guaido, the duly elected leader of the Venezuelan Government today. And for the Russians it’s the same."
In his conversation with Baier, the Secretary discussed the option of military force to restore democracy in Venezuela. He said, "The President’s been consistent and unambiguous about that – that the option to use military force is available if that’s what is ultimately called for. We hope it’s not. We hope there can be a peaceful resolution and that Maduro will leave without violence. We’re watching those who are engaged in violence and we will hold them accountable. But the President has made very, very clear that we are going to ensure that Venezuelan democracy is restored."
The Secretary stated, it’s time for Maduro to leave, for there to be free and fair elections, and to begin to rebuild Venezuela's once-great economy. Secretary Pompeo underscored that regardless of what scenario plays out, the Venezuelan people should know that United States, as well as 50-plus countries and the Organization of American States are all prepared to continue to support them and stand with them.
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