“The Maduro regime is illegitimate,” Pompeo said. “The fact that Maduro decided to hold an inauguration after a sham election doesn’t change America’s direction and intent.”
More than 1 million people are expected to leave the country this year, Pompeo said.
This crisis will create “an enormous burden on the region and, more than that, the suffering that will take place inside of Venezuela if we don’t restore democracy,” he said.
Asked what strategy the US had in place to deal with Venezuela, Pompeo answered, “We’re always looking at all the options with respect to how we execute diplomacy and how we influence the outcome there.”
“We’re a real democracy and I, Nicolas Maduro Moros, I am a truly democratic president,” he said in a televised address.
The regional Organization of American States has said it won’t recognize his new term. The May election that returned Maduro to power was boycotted by opposition groups and largely discredited by opponents in Venezuela, with hundreds of complaints of election violations and a low turnout.
The OAS said Thursday its member nations voted 19-6, with eight abstentions, to not recognize the legitimacy of Maduro’s government. One of those nations, Paraguay, announced Thursday it was breaking diplomatic relations with Venezuela and closing its embassy there.
Angle News’s Joe Sterling, Stefano Pozzebon and Flora Charner contributed to this report