In the latest extraordinary outburst, Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime slammed the “supremacist policies” and ongoing hostility by the “regime of Donald Trump.”
The comments were a response to a speech made by the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department’s Foreign Affairs day over the ongoing situation in Venezuela, where thousands of people are fleeing the country to escape the Maduro dictatorship amid increase levels of political persecution and a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis.
“We often don’t talk so much about Latin America, but as we witness the destruction of a once prosperous and democratic nation in our near-abroad, we need to tackle that diplomatically as well,” Pompeo said in his remarks.
“A dictator today in Venezuela cripples his economy and starves his people,” he continued. “We need a strong State Department and USAID to help the millions of Venezuelans fleeing the corrupt regime as a result of this entirely man-made crisis.”
In a statement on Sunday, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry attacked Pompeo over the remarks, especially the continued economic sanctions levied against the regime by the United States.
“Mr. Pompeo shows false concern for the reality of Venezuela while hiding the perverse effects of the unilateral coercive measures of his government,” the Ministry stated.
The statement added that the Trump administration “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.”
Pompeo, who was recently confirmed as Secretary of State, is likely to pursue a hawkish foreign policy towards Latin America’s leftist regimes which will include additional economic sanctions in an attempt to further squeeze the Maduro regime.
Before his departure in February, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed that the administration was considering blocking all sales of Venezuelan oil in a move that would further cripple Venezuela’s already collapsed economy.
So far, the White House has imposed a range of sanctions on the Maduro regime, that include prohibiting Americans from dealing with Venezuela’s state-run oil company Petroleum of Venezuela (PDSVA), as well as personal sanctions targeting high ranking government officials including Maduro himself.
Maduro, meanwhile, is known for his grandiose rhetoric decrying a supposed “economic war” led by the United States. Last year, he warned members of the Venezuelan military to prepare for a war with America.
“We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace,” Maduro declared. “We need to have rifles, missiles, and well-oiled tanks at the ready … to defend every inch of the territory if need be.”