Pompeo discusses 'need to increase pressure' on Venezuela on South America trip

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoMore money at the gas pump may be the price of pressuring Iran The Hill's Morning Report - Dem candidates sell policy as smart politics Kim to meet with Putin as tensions with US rise MORE talked with his Peruvian counterpart on Tuesday about the "need to increase pressure" on Venezuela to improve conditions for that country's citizens, The Associated Press reported.

State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said that Pompeo met with Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Bardales. Pompeo thanked Bardales for taking in hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants who fled the country amid food shortages and worsening economic conditions.

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The meeting came during Pompeo's trip to Brazil for the inauguration of new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. The far-right candidate, dubbed the "Trump of the Tropics," was sworn in on Tuesday.

The Trump administration has taken a hard-line stance against Venezuela and its president, Nicolás Maduro.

The administration in September levied sanctions, including financial sanctions, against four members of Maduro’s inner circle, including his wife and vice president. The administration had initially targeted Venezuelan companies with sanctions.

Maduro has sought to tighten his grip on power in Venezuela despite deteriorating conditions. He won reelection in 2018 amid concerns of voter intimidation and low turnout.

Vice President Pence criticized Maduro's win as a "sham" election.