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Pompeo urges Maduro to allow aid entry at Colombia-Venezuela border

AFP  |  Cucuta (Colombia) 

US ended his tour of on Sunday with a brief visit to the Colombian border city of Cucuta, crossed through by thousands of Venezuelans fleeing crisis under

After attending a Sunday service in the Peruvian capital Lima, the set off for the final leg of his tour of South America, which began Friday in

In Cucuta, where he met with refugees alongside Colombian Ivan Duque, Pompeo called upon Maduro to open the border to allow humanitarian aid to enter -- and step down.

"Open these bridges, open these borders, you can end this today," he said.

"I hope that you will care enough when you see the horror, when you see the tragedy, to change your ways and to leave your country."

Branded illegitimate by over 50 countries, who instead recognise opposition Juan Guaido, Maduro closed four frontier bridges connecting and on February 22.

That came after Guaido declared himself interim on January 23, kickstarting a power struggle with Maduro -- of which the entry of humanitarian aid has been a defining issue.

Pompeo promised that the US would continue to use all political and economic means to help Venezuelans.

All four featured on his itinerary -- Chile, Paraguay, and -- are led by right-wing or center-right leaders favourable to Washington's uncompromising approach to Maduro.

On Saturday, Pompeo paid tribute to Peru's welcome for hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan refugees.

But he became irritated when a asked if that contradicted US President Donald Trump's harsh immigration policy at home.

"has felt first-hand the effects of the disastrous and the pain that he has brought to the Venezuelan people," he said, following talks with President and

He added that had shown "enormous leadership in responding to this challenge."


Over three million Venezuelans, around 10 per cent of the population, now live outside the crisis-hit country, ravaged by shortages of and medicine and repeated power outages.

The predicts that number will hit 5.3 million by the end of 2019.

Peru has received the most Venezuelans after Colombia: 750,000, according to Popolizio, testing the capacity of the country's

Another objective of Pompeo's whirlwind tour was to blunt trade rival China's growing reach in

In Chile, whose biggest trading partner is Beijing, he warned of links between Chinese trade and "their desire to steal intellectual property, to have forced technology transfer, to engage in activity that is not economic.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 15 2019. 08:50 IST
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