Haley: 'It's time' for Venezuelan leader Maduro to go

Haley: 'It's time' for Venezuelan leader Maduro to go
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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyCoronavirus sets off industry scramble for aid from Washington Why Klobuchar should be Biden's vice presidential pick Overnight Defense: 'Tens of thousands' of National Guard troops could be activated for coronavirus response | Hospital ships could take week to deploy | Trump says military to help Americans stuck in Peru MORE called on Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro to step down on Tuesday, labeling the South American nation's upcoming election a "sham."

“It’s time for Maduro to go," Haley said at a conference on Latin America at the State Department, adding that the Venezuelan people have become "unwilling victims of a criminal narco-state."

Venezuela is planning to hold elections on May 20, with Maduro running for a second term.


The country has dealt with economic and democratic unrest throughout Maduro's presidency, with the economy and democratic institutions coming drastically close to collapsing. 

Maduro moved to strip the National Assembly of power in 2015 through an internationally questioned censured constitutional assembly after the Venezuelan United Socialist Party lost parliamentary elections. 

The Trump administration has long been a thorn in the side of Maduro's presidency, slapping a series of sanctions on the country in response to Maduro's controversial reelection bid. 

The U.S. also announced on Tuesday that it planned to provide an additional $18.5 million in funding for displaced Venezuelans in Colombia. 

That funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will go to the Columbian government for school feeding programs, mobile health services and new systems to help collect data on displaced Venezuelans in the country, the agency said.

The funding announcement comes roughly a month after Vice President Pence announced that the U.S. would provide nearly $16 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans who have fled a deepening economic and political crisis in the country. 

Haley's comments Tuesday followed Pence's own call the previous day for Venezuela's elections to be suspended.

"On election day itself, the Maduro regime has already given every indication that it will resort to its authoritarian playbook," Pence said.

"In short, there will be no real election in Venezuela on May 20 and the world knows it. It will be a fake election with a fake outcome," he added.

The European Union has also called for the upcoming electoral contests to be put off, casting doubt on their integrity.

– Max Greenwood contributed

Updated: 2:28 p.m.