Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday expressed outrage at British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s support of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s regime.
“It is disgusting to see leaders, in not only the United Kingdom, but the United States as well, who continue to support the murderous dictator Maduro,” Pompeo said at a joint press conference with U.K. foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in London. “It is not in either of our country’s best interests for those leaders to continue to advocate on their behalf.”
The U.S. has levied heavy sanctions against Maduro’s regime and recognizes National Assembly president Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful president. The country has been in upheaval since Guaidó and other opposition leaders encouraged crowds of citizens to take to the streets of Caracas, the capital, in an effort to oust Maduro that fizzled out last week as most of the military remained loyal to the government. Meanwhile, Venezuela has continued to face a mushrooming humanitarian crisis as its economy collapses, with food scarce and crime rampant.
Nevertheless, Corbyn hardened his stance against “outside interference” in the conflict after Pompeo’s comments Wednesday.
“We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the U.S. or anywhere else,” Corbyn’s spokesperson said. “The future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans.”
“The Venezuelan people have spoken through their constitutional mechanism. They have put Juan Guaidó as their interim president. He is the duly elected leader there. Maduro is on borrowed time,” Pompeo said. “I was in Colombia, I saw those countries who had to make choices about whether to feed their children on even days or odd days. That is a direct result of Nicolas Maduro.”
“To see American leaders, or leaders from this country, to continue to provide support and comfort to a regime that has created so much devastation, so much destruction . . . no leader in a country with Western democratic values ought to stand behind them,” he added.
Pompeo’s remarks come just a month before President Trump is scheduled to pay a formal state visit to Queen Elizabeth II.