USA asks Latin America to close ranks against Maduro and contain China



US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, asked in an interview published today by a Brazilian newspaper that all of Latin America close ranks against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and contain the "predatory" practices of China in the region.

"We want to be certain that, not only the United States and Brazil, but the other countries of the region make it very, very clear" that "democracy has to be restored" in Venezuela, Pompeo told the newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo.

Pompeo was in Brazil this week to attend the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro, leader of the far right identified with Donald Trump, and also made a brief visit to Colombia, where he was received by Iván Duque, another of the conservative leaders who have come to the power in the region in recent months.

In both cases, he said that the situation in Venezuela was one of the main issues.

"Brazil, Colombia and other countries share our deep concern with the impact of the Maduro regime in the region," said the US official, who cited among those effects the migration wave unleashed by the Venezuelan crisis, "which throws a burden on the others. countries. "

Pompeo reiterated that the new mandate that Maduro will initiate on January 10 can not be recognized, as thirteen of the members of the Lima Group have requested, in a decision adopted this week that among the members of that mechanism was not only endorsed by Mexico.

"The Maduro regime claims to occupy Venezuela during another term and we do not consider that the elections (of May of last year) were fair, because they were a farce," he said.

In the interview with O Estado de Sao Paulo, Pompeo also referred to the growing influence of China in Latin America, either through multimillion-dollar investments or as a destination for many of the region's exports.

According to Pompeo, "it is unquestionable that China can not be freed to develop a predatory economic activity", since that "does not interest anyone".

In this context, he pointed out that "where China is present, be it in Brazil, Ecuador, Chile or elsewhere, there must be competition, transparency and freedom", and "you can not give them permission to present themselves in countries with practices that they are not open ", to obtain" political benefits using commercial factors ".

Pompeo stressed that "that is not appropriate" and that President Trump "is prepared to fight against that wherever, in commercial matters, the United States does not find fair and reciprocal practices" in relation to China.

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