Pompeo: Russia, China 'spread disorder' in Latin America

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 accused Russia and China of spreading “disorder” in Latin America through their economic projects and of backing U.S. adversaries like Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro in the region. 

“The problem … is when China does business in places like Latin America if often injects corrosive capital into the economic bloodstream, giving life to corruption and eroding good governance,” Pompeo said in a speech while in Chile. 

“China, Russia, they’re showing up at the doorstep, but once they enter the house, we know they will use debt traps, they will disregard rules and they will spread disorder in your home. Thankfully, you all, South America, is not buying it. You should know that the United States will stand behind you.” 

The secretary of State also slammed China and Russia over their financial support for Maduro as he clings to power amid an escalating leadership and economic crisis.

“China’s bankrolling of the Maduro regime helped precipitate and prolong the crisis in that country. China invested over $60 billion, $60 billion with no strings attached. Well, it’s no surprise Maduro used the money for tasks like paying off cronies, crushing pro-democracy activists and funding ineffective social programs,” Pompeo said. 

“Venezuela and Latin Americans should be worried. Flying in troops and opening a training center in Venezuela are obvious provocations," he said. "We shouldn’t stand for Russia escalating an already very precarious situation in that country.”

The U.S. has thrown its weight behind Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognizing him as the country’s rightful interim president.

Maduro was sworn in for a second six-year term earlier this year, but the U.S. declared his election illegitimate. 

The Trump administration has already imposed sanctions on a litany of entities and individuals with ties to Maduro to pressure him to step down.

The U.S. penalized four more companies Friday that it says transports thousands of barrels of oil from Venezuela to Cuba. President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE has also not ruled out military action.