Pompeo calls Venezuela's Maduro a 'sick tyrant'

Pompeo calls Venezuela's Maduro a 'sick tyrant'
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoU.S. releases new photos purporting to show Iran was behind tanker attack U.S. releases new photos purporting to show Iran was behind tanker attack Tensions with Iran reach new stage over uranium threat MORE on Saturday condemned the violence that flared during attempted humanitarian aid deliveries to Venezuela, calling the nation’s president, Nicolás Maduro, a “sick tyrant.”

“The U.S. condemns the attacks on civilians in #Venezuela perpetrated by Maduro’s thugs. These attacks have resulted in deaths and injuries. Our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have died due to these criminal acts,” Pompeo said in a tweet.

“We join their demand for justice. #EstamosUnidosVE”

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Pompeo in a subsequent tweet asked what kind of a “sick tyrant” stops food from getting to hungry people.

“We denounce Maduro’s refusal to let humanitarian assistance reach #Venezuela. What kind of a sick tyrant stops food from getting to hungry people? The images of burning trucks filled with aid are sickening.”

Maduro on Saturday cut diplomatic ties with neighboring Colombia amid a standoff over the aid deliveries at the countries' shared border.

Venezuela’s national guard reportedly shot rubber bullets and tear gas as anti-Maduro protesters attempted to bring aid across the border.

Two people were also killed near Venezuela's border with Brazil, The Associated Press reported.

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself Venezuela's interim president and is backed by the Trump administration and a number of European nations, announced on Saturday that the first trucks carrying humanitarian aid arrived from Brazil.

Pompeo in a statement late Saturday called the day “historic.”

“Tomorrow is a new day. It is an opportunity for Venezuelan security forces to do the right thing by allowing humanitarian assistance into the country, by protecting civilians against Maduro’s armed gangs or ‘colectivos,’ and by supporting the Venezuelan constitution and the rule of law,” he said.

“Now is the time to act in support of democracy, and respond to the needs of the desperate Venezuelan people,” he added.

“The United States will take action against and hold accountable those who oppose the peaceful restoration of democracy in Venezuela.”