CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela on Sunday slammed comments by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the government of President Nicolas Maduro, denouncing “supremacist policies” and aggression by the “regime of Donald Trump.”
In a speech on Friday, Pompeo said that “a dictator today in Venezuela cripples his economy and starves his people,” and urged the State Department help to those who flee the crisis-stricken country.
“Mr. Pompeo shows false concern for the reality of Venezuela, while hiding the perverse effects of the unilateral coercive measures of his government,” Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, referring to financial sanctions levied against Venezuela by the Trump government.
It said Trump’s government “has launched erratic maneuvers, typical of the arrogance and despair of imperialist politics, after having failed once and again in the face of the will of a free and independent people.”
Close to 1 million people left Venezuela between 2015 and 2017, according to U.N. figures, to escape the rising incidence of malnutrition and preventable diseases as a result of the collapse of the country’s socialist economic system.
Maduro blames the situation on U.S. sanctions and an “economic war” waged by the opposition. He is up for re-election on May 20 in a vote that is being boycotted by the opposition’s main coalition, which calls it a sham.
Opposition politician Henri Falcon is breaking the boycott and will stand against Maduro.
Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Sandra Maler