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Pompeo Confident That Venezuela’s Maduro Will Be Ousted

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is confident that Nicolas Maduro will eventually be toppled, but is uncertain when this could happen because the U.S. has found uniting Venezuelan opposition more difficult than initially thought, The Washington Post reports, citing an audio recording of a recent closed-door meeting that it has obtained.

Earlier this year, the United States and many other western countries recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president and supported him in the power struggle over the country sitting on the world’s largest crude oil reserves. The U.S. slapped sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and exports in an attempt to deprive the Maduro regime of as much oil revenues—the only hard currency Venezuela can get these days—as possible.                                                                                      

At the closed-door meeting in New York last week, Pompeo said, according to the audio recording The Washington Post has revealed:

“Our conundrum, which is to keep the opposition united, has proven devilishly difficult.”  

More than forty people would vie to be Maduro’s successor the moment he leaves, Pompeo said at the meeting.

Maduro will be forced out eventually, Pompeo said, but added that “I couldn’t tell you the timing.

Maduro is surrounded mostly by Cubans, Pompeo said, noting that “He doesn’t trust Venezuelans a lick. I don’t blame him. He shouldn’t. They were all plotting against him. Sadly, they were all plotting for themselves,” according to the audio recording.  

Earlier this week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted that “Cuba has continued to prop up the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela and will be held responsible for this ongoing man-made crisis.  President Trump has made it clear that we stand with the Cuban and Venezuelan people as they fight for freedom.” 

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s crippled oil industry continues to suffer, with May exports slumping by 17 percent after the country shut down almost all of its crude oil upgraders.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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