ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The United States stepped up its criticism of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro on Saturday with an explicit call for the formation of a new government in the South American country.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that it stood behind the head of Venezuela’s opposition-run congress, Juan Guaido, who said on Friday that he was prepared to step into the presidency temporarily to replace Maduro.

The statement was the latest in a series of Trump administration attacks on Maduro, whose inauguration to a new term as president on Thursday has been widely denounced as illegitimate.

“The people of Venezuela deserve to live in freedom in a democratic society governed by the rule of law,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said. “It is time to begin the orderly transition to a new government. We support the National Assembly’s call for all Venezuelans to work together, peacefully, to restore constitutional government and build a better future.”

“The United States government will continue to use the full weight of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” he said in the statement, released in Abu Dhabi where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting as part of a Mideast trip.

Pompeo spoke to Guaido earlier in the week shortly after the 35-year-old was elected to lead the National Assembly.

Pompeo told reporters traveling with him that the events taking place in Venezuela now were “incredibly important.”

“The Maduro regime is illegitimate and the United States will continue … to work diligently to restore a real democracy to that country,” he said. “We are very hopeful that we can be force for good to allow the region to come together to deliver that.”

Guaido, speaking to a crowd blocking a Caracas street a day after Maduro’s inauguration, said …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

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