Pompeo says Maduro's inner circle looking for exit strategy in Venezuela

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo: Countries should reject China's demands to repatriate Uighurs Trump says he will consider releasing transcript of Ukraine call White House officials, Giuliani come to Trump's defense on Ukraine allegations MORE said Monday that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's inner circle is looking for an exit strategy, a sign that the embattled regime's days may be numbered.
 
"We see leaders inside of Maduro's inner circle now trying to figure out what the golden ticket looks like. 'What does it look like if I leave?'" Pompeo told The Hill's Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump's new controversy Politicon announces lineup including Comey, Hannity, Priebus The Hill's Editor-in-Chief: Why Yang won't run third party MORE at a Newsmaker Series event sponsored by the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies. "When they start asking those questions, surely some of them will decide there are better times ahead not supporting that thug."
 
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The Trump administration has made regime change in Venezuela a top foreign policy priority. The United States was the first of now more than 50 countries to recognize Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the country's interim president.
 
Guaidó was sworn in as president by the opposition in January following Maduro's reelection, which was declared illegitimate by most international observers, including the United States, the European Union and the Organization of American States.
 
Speaking at Monday's event, Pompeo said he hoped China would follow suit in recognizing Guaidó. He also had a warning for Maduro's other allies, like Cuba, Iran and Russia.
 
"You've seen the efforts we've made to try and convince the Cubans, who have hundreds of intelligence officers, thousands of people working with the Maduro regime, to convince them that's not the right foreign policy, that Maduro is going to leave. And when [he] leaves, they're going to be in a far better place if they choose a better path," Pompeo said.
 
"We are making the same case to all the parties that are supporting Maduro," he added.