US condemns Cuba, Russia for backing Venezuela's Maduro


Washington (AFP)

Top US diplomat Mike Pompeo took aim at Cuba and Russia on Monday for their support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who Washington wants to remove from power.

The secretary of state rejected Maduro's assertion that the US was responsible for a widespread blackout, instead pointing the finger at the socialist nature of the Venezuelan leader's government.

"Nicolas Maduro promised Venezuelans a better life and a socialist paradise. He delivered on the socialism part, which has proved, time and time again, is a recipe for economic ruin," Pompeo told journalists.

"The paradise part? Not so much."

While he did not announce new measures against Maduro or in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized as interim president by some 50 countries, Pompeo did take aim at the "central role Cuba and Russia have played and continue to play in undermining the democratic dreams of the Venezuelan people and their welfare."

"Cuba is the true imperialist power in Venezuela," Pompeo said, denouncing the "physical protection and other critical material and political support to Maduro and to those around him."

"When there is no electricity, thank the marvels of modern Cuban-led engineering," he said. "When there is no water, thank the excellent hydrologists from Cuba.

"When there is no food, thank the Cuban communist overlords."

Pompeo also took aim at Moscow, saying that "Russia too has created this crisis," including by supplying arms to Venezuela.

He acknowledged that "we always wish things could go faster" in Venezuela, but said that he is "very confident the tide is moving in the direction of the Venezuelan people and will continue to do so."