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Pompeo defends ‘unending pressure' as Venezuela regime hang on

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Mike Pompeo

By Nick Wadhams / Bloomberg

Petroleumworld 12 03 2019

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo defended what he called a policy of “unending pressure and sensible restraint” against Venezuela even though President Nicolas Maduro has defied U.S. predictions and remained in power.

In a speech Monday at the University of Louisville, Pompeo listed fallen regimes, from East Germany to the Soviet Union, whose leaders boasted they would rule forever -- only to fall with stunning speed. He said the same could be the case for Venezuela.

“The end came slowly and then it came really, really fast,” Pompeo said of those regimes, adding that “unending pressure and sensible restraint” was the right approach. “The end will come for Maduro as well, we just don't know what day.”

The speech was part of a push by Pompeo to outline the Trump administration's foreign-policy approach -- and, by extension, his own -- with a reliance on sanctions and other forms of economic pressure while avoiding the use of military force.

The administration has also had to explain why Maduro has clung to power despite predictions that his government would topple swiftly after the administration recognized Juan Guaido as the country's interim leader last January and imposed a raft of sanctions.

Pompeo and Trump have faced similar questions over Iran, where the leadership has remained undeterred and so far refused to meet U.S. demands over its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, also in the face of a tightening sanctions regime.

Pompeo said sanctions against Iran -- which has seen rising domestic political protests -- have been “incredibly effective” and that the government there now has fewer resources to conduct what he called its “terror campaign” in the region. He also criticized European nations for remaining in the 2015 deal that sought to limit Iran's nuclear program and which Trump walked away from last year.

“The Europeans chose a different approach, a fundamentally different approach,” Pompeo said. “We have encouraged them to move away from that. We don't think it's productive.”

Story by Nick Wadhams from Bloomberg 12 02 2019


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