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US Secretary of State Blames Cuba, Russia For Venezuela Crisis

© AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, PoolU.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference with Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. at the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs Home Office in Manila, Philippines, Friday, March 1, 2019
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference with Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. at the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs Home Office in Manila, Philippines, Friday, March 1, 2019 - Sputnik International
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a pressing briefing on Monday that it's Cuba and Russia that are undermining democracy in Venezuela, not the US or other nations that have recognized the un-elected, self-declared Juan Guaido as the leader in Caracas instead of sitting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Pompeo claimed in the briefing that "Cuba is the true imperialist power" in the South American country, and that the island nation has been training Venezuelan secret police in torture tactics, among other disciplines. Furthermore, Cuban security forces have been displacing Venezuelan security forces, the US official alleged.

"I even hear that Maduro has no Venezuelans around him," Pompeo said, suggesting that the president's advisers are under the direction of the Cuban government. He also blamed Venezuela's economic woes on the tiny island nation. "When there's no electricity, thank the modern marvels of Cuban electricity… when there's no food, thank the Cuban communist overlords."

Residents cross a street in the dark after a power outage in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 7, 2019. A power outage left much of Venezuela in the dark early Thursday evening in what appeared to be one of the largest blackouts yet in a country where power failures have become increasingly common. Crowds of commuters in capital city Caracas were walking home after metro service ground to a halt and traffic snarled as cars struggled to navigate intersections where stoplights were out. - Sputnik International
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Cuba has also been subject to devastating sanctions and economic isolation by the US for decades. 

The California native later blamed the Venezuelan crisis on Russia as well, saying that Moscow "for its own reasons, distorted the Venezuelan people's legitimate hopes" of democracy. Moscow continues to recognize the elected president of Venezuela, not Guaido.  

According to Pompeo, the Russian government is using both RT and Sputnik as a means to distract others from the crisis at hand, and that the, "Kremlin is standing with its Venezuelan cronies" in a bid to undermine the will of the Venezuelan people. The US official went on to say that Russia continuing to purchase oil from Venezuela and trade gold with the state is similar to acting as a "personal ATM" for oligarchs, and that Moscow is providing "aid and comfort" to Maduro's government.

In response to questions about Washington's actions to promote regime change behind the scenes, Pompeo said that the Trump administration has been "very transparent" with their actions and reasoning for supporting Guaido, Washington's anointed interim president of Venezuela.

"Nicolas Maduro promised Venezuelans a better life in a socialist paradise," Pompeo said. "And he delivered on the socialism part… the paradise part, not so much."

Pompeo's speech comes just days after Anya Parampil, a Washington-based journalist for the Grayzone Project, told Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear that the US is obviously working to orchestrate the crisis in Venezuela, and then to parade it as an example of socialism "failing" the people.

A man enters the US Treasury Department building on Pennsylvania Avenue on January 24, 2017, in Washington, DC. - Sputnik International
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"I get the feeling that the Trump administration would like a prolonged battle against the Venezuelan state, where they can point to it because of the US-led economic war and sanctions that have weakened the country and say, ‘Look how socialism's failed, you don't want that here,'" Parampil, who spent several weeks in Venezuela to understand events there, told hosts Brian Becker and John Kirakou.

"It's been very absurd to watch the way the media continues to make the point that, because of the suffering of the Venezuelan people, they're going to just open their arms and accept Guaido. Everybody I spoke to there has a very complex understanding as to why they're suffering economically."

"They understand that US sanctions and a US-led economic war is the root of their problem, so they're not going to accept the US solution to that, and it might be really hard for people in Washington and for US-based journalists to accept that. But you know, all you have to do is go to Caracas and show up and talk to regular people on the street, and it becomes very clear,"she added.

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