US Secretary of State visits Venezuelan migrants in Colombia

Combined Shape

CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Venezuelan migrants in Colombia on Sunday as he wrapped up a four-nation tour of South America aimed at pressuring Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro.

Pompeo went to a migrant center in the border town of Cucuta with Colombian President Ivan Duque. Not far away, Venezuelan security forces with riot gear stood in the middle of the Simon Bolivar international bridge separating the two countries.

The migrant center has been the first stop for some 3.4 million Venezuelans who have fled hyperinflation, severe shortages of food and medicine, and political upheaval in their homeland.

Pompeo described a “very moving” encounter with a Venezuelan mother named Geraldine who crossed into Colombia and was torn about abandoning her country even as she had to scavenge for diapers, medicine and other basic goods she could no longer find in Venezuela.

Mimicking President Ronald Reagan’s famous “Tear down this wall” speech in Berlin at the end of the Cold War, Pompeo urged Maduro to lift a military blockade preventing the entry of tons of humanitarian aid that has sat for months on Venezuela’s borders with Colombia, Brazil and the Dutch Caribbean.

Trending:
New York AG: CNN, MSNBC Parent Companies Funded Millions of Phony Comments to Sway Trump Administration

“Mr. Maduro, open these bridges, open these borders. You can end this today,” Pompeo said. “I hope you will care now when you see the horror, when you see the tragedy, to change your ways and to leave your country.”

The U.S. was the first of more than now 50 nations that in January recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó when he declared himself his country’s interim president. The opposition, with the support of the U.S. and the other countries, Maduro’s re-election last year to be illegitimate because leading critics were barred from running.

But significant popular support for Guaidó at home hasn’t loosened Maduro’s grip on power, and the embattled leader continues to enjoy the support of the armed forces, the traditional arbiter of political disputes in Venezuela.

Authorities in Venezuela have accused Washington of plotting Maduro’s overthrow and even blamed it for a failure of the electrical grid last month that left much of the country without power for days. On Sunday, a top official ridiculed Pompeo’s visit to the border.

“Confirmed: Washington and Bogota ratify Cucuta as the regular stage for their most decadent and cheap spectacles,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said in a message on Twitter. “In the meantime, the abandoned people of Cucuta continue to live off the Venezuelan economy.”

The U.S. has provided almost $275 million in aid to Colombia, Peru and other South American allies to absorb the flood of migrants from Venezuela.

When pressed by a reporter on whether the generosity shown Venezuelans fleeing Maduro is in conflict with the Trump administration’s hostile policies toward migrants on the southern U.S. border, Pompeo called the comparison “ludicrous.”

“People are starving because Nicolas Maduro is denying food that is sitting here. This is horrific. There is nothing else like this,” Pompeo said while flying back to Washington.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →






We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation