Published: Mon, May 06, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Pompeo tells Venezuelans: 'The time for transition is now'

Pompeo tells Venezuelans: 'The time for transition is now'

A day after Nicolas Maduro exhibited a show of unity with military figures in a television broadcast, the Venezuelan President on Saturday called on the armed forces to be "ready" in the event of a U.S. military offensive against the South American country.

"I told the generals and admirals yesterday: loyalty, I want an active loyalty", Maduro said in a speech to some 5,000 troops that was broadcast nationally on radio and television. "All Venezuelans are here because we have the need to make our claims, we have a right", said one Guaido supporter at the demonstration.

Russian Federation owns a significant portion of Venezuela's oil fields through a state-backed oil firm, Rosneft, has sold billions in military equipment to the South American nation and loaned Maduro's regime billions more - much of it reportedly still outstanding.

Earlier this week, Pompeo charged that Russian Federation had blocked USA efforts to get Maduro out of the country, persuading him at the last-minute not to take a waiting plane to Cuba.

The Lima Group backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido's push to oust Maduro on Tuesday, which failed to trigger the military defections needed to wrest control of key institutions.

Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Friday that his country will not allow Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to use the Spanish Embassy in Venezuela for political purposes. "But look out! A handful of traitors can't tarnish the honor, union, cohesion and image of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces in front of the people the world".

But on Fox News Sunday, Pompeo said Trump has been "very clear" about wanting the Russians to stop meddling in Venezuela.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a direct appeal to the Venezuelan people on Saturday, urging them to drive President Nicolas Maduro from power and telling them "the time for transition is now".

The Venezuelan military has so far sided with Maduro, but the opposition believes that under the surface there are growing cracks.

"And I feel the same way", Trump added.

"An abnormal incident broke out recently in Venezuela, where internal anti-government forces attempted a coup d'etat to remove the legitimately elected president", the spokesperson was quoted by KCNA as saying.

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