US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, sent a clear message Sunday to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro that Washington will not cease in its efforts to restore democracy in the oil country.
He also exhorted him to open the blocked bridges on the border with Colombia so that humanitarian aid can enter.
Pompeo made a brief visit to the Colombian city of Cúcuta, the main point of contact with the outside world of tens of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing his country, and in just over three hours he was able to feel the severity of the crisis and the hardships of the immigrants. .
"Maduro must know that we are watching and our support will not change, democratic support in Venezuela will not be deterred," he said in a statement he gave to the press along with Colombian President Iván Duque.
The Secretary of State and the Colombian president gave their messages in the warehouse where hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid are stored, located on the Colombian side of the Tienditas bridge, just a few meters from the border with Venezuela.
According to Pompeo, the US Administration, which has imposed multiple political and economic sanctions on the Maduro regime, on companies controlled by the Venezuelan government, on officials, the military and other persons linked to its environment, will not relax in this method of pressure.
"The United States will continue using all economic and political means at our disposal to help Venezuelans through sanctions, cancellations of visas and other means," said Pompeo, who said he hoped that those who help sustain the Bolivarian regime "take responsibility for corruption and the repression of democracy. "
The visit of Secretary of State to Cúcuta was the culmination of a South American tour that began on Thursday in Chile and continued in Paraguay, Peru and Colombia, four of the fifty countries that recognize as interim president of Venezuela the head of Parliament, Juan Guaidó , like the United States.
Pompeo highlighted Guaidó as the man, under whose leadership and with the support of "the democratically elected National Assembly", can lead Venezuelans through free elections to a better future, which in his opinion Maduro denies them.
At that point he emphasized the humanitarian aid that his country has stored in Cúcuta since last February, waiting for the Government of Maduro to remove the obstacles that block the border bridges and prevent that assistance, consisting of food, medicines , nutritional supplements and personal hygiene items, can enter the country.
That is why he resorted to the 1987 historical phrase of the then US president, Ronald Reagan, in Berlin when addressing the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, he said: "Mr. Gorbachev, demolish that wall (of Berlin)."
"To paraphrase a president who faced similar circumstances, 'Mr. Maduro, open these bridges, open these borders', you can finish this today," he said about the difficulties Venezuelans are experiencing and that this Sunday he could see up close during the visit. that he did to the Migrant Care Center (CATM) and the Simón Bolívar International Bridge.
"Today it was incredibly moving to walk on this bridge and witness the great work that is being done to address this humanitarian crisis," Pompeo said and cited the case of "Geraldine, a Venezuelan mother who has crossed the border about twenty times" Come to Colombia in search of basic necessities for your children.
On those trips to Cúcuta to get "simple items like medicine, like diapers, which would be available in normal circumstances in any country", Geraldine takes the opportunity to feed herself and her children in the soup kitchens for Venezuelans.
On February 23, Guiadó led an attempt to bring humanitarian aid to Venezuela from Cúcuta, but the initiative failed due to the blockade of the bridges ordered by the Maduro regime, which gave rise to violent disorders.
For that reason, the senior US official He said he hoped that Maduro "would be interested enough ... the horror and tragedy" of Venezuela so that he would be forced to "change his methods and leave his country."
After claiming the end of "the usurpation" of power by Maduro, the head of US diplomacy said that "all Venezuelans in the world should reject the illegitimate and authoritarian regime that has been imposed, including the Venezuelan military leadership" .
Duque, for his part, celebrated the commitment of those countries that "make all the necessary efforts" to restore "democracy, freedom and institutional order in Venezuela."
In this regard, he stressed that at the meeting of the Lima Group to be held tomorrow in Santiago, Chile, "there will be a new emphasis on the need to appeal to all political, economic and diplomatic sanctions to isolate the dictatorship and allow that transition in Venezuela. "