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It's High Noon at the UN Over Venezuela's 'Mafia State'

Mike Pompeo refuses to say 'what the US will do next'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 26, 2019 1:00 PM CST
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the United Nations Security Council at the U.N Headquarters on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. Pompeo encouraged the council to recognize Juan Guaido as the constitutional...   (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)
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(Newser) – The United States urged all nations Saturday to support Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido while Russia accused the Trump administration of attempting "to engineer a coup d'etat" against President Nicolas Maduro—a reflection of the world's deep divisions over the crisis in the embattled Latin American country, the AP reports. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the UN Security Council at a meeting called by the United States that it's beyond time to back the Venezuelan people as they try to free themselves from what he called Maduro's "illegitimate mafia state" and back Guaido, who has declared himself the country's interim president, arguing that Maduro's re-election was fraudulent.

But Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Venezuela doesn't threaten international peace and security and accused "extremist opponents" of Maduro's legitimate government of choosing "maximum confrontation," including the artificial creation of a parallel government. He urged Pompeo to say whether the US will use military force. Pompeo later told reporters who asked for a response, "I am not going to speculate or hypothesize on what the US will do next." What has played out in Venezuela and the world's media between supporters and opponents of the Maduro government played out face-to-face in the chamber of the UN's most powerful body, which has failed to take action on the Venezuelan crisis because of deep divisions, especially among the Security Council's five veto-wielding permanent members.

(Read more Venezuela stories.)

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