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Venezuela LIVE: Mike Pompeo travels to Cúcuta, on the border between Colombia and the country governed by Nicolás Maduro | World | Venezuela

Lime. The head of American diplomacy, Mike Pompeo, culminates this Sunday a visit to Peru, a country that said, has felt "first hand" the effects of the crisis in Venezuela by receiving 750,000 migrants who escaped from the former oil power.

Pompeo will leave shortly at noon (17:00 GMT) to the Colombian city of Cúcuta, border with Venezuela, last stop of his tour through four South American countries and first destination of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing the economic debacle in his country.

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"Peru has felt first-hand the effects of the disastrous Nicolás Maduro and the pain it has caused the Venezuelan people"He declared Pompeo on Saturday, after meeting with Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra and his chancellor Néstor Popolizio.

The Secretary of State, who started his tour on Friday in Chile and also visited Paraguay, said that "Peru has shown enormous leadership in responding to this challenge (the migratory avalanche.) They, the people of Peru, have generously welcomed nearly three-quarters of a million refugees from Venezuela.".

More than three million Venezuelans, around 10% of the population, now live outside their country. The projection of the UN is that by the end of 2019 they total 5.3 million, in the biggest humanitarian crisis in Latin America in times of peace.

Peru is the second country, behind Colombia, which has received the largest number of Venezuelans, some 750,000 said Popolizio, which has put to the test the capacity of Peruvian public services.

Lima projects that at the end of April there will be almost 800,000 Venezuelans in the country and the barrier of one million will be overcome in a few months if the current migratory flow is maintained.

Popolizio affirmed that the crisis in Venezuela "It is a global problem," and said that the Lima Group, at its meeting in Santiago on Monday, will discuss new measures to reinforce Maduro's isolation.

Pompeo He praised Peru for receiving so many Venezuelans, but was upset when a reporter asked him if it does not contrast with the decision of President Donald Trump to build a wall to prevent the arrival in the United States of Central American migrants seeking a better life.

– "Time of transition" –

Pompeo spoke on the phone on Saturday about the Venezuelan crisis with Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo, according to his spokesman.

"They (…) promised to continue working together to address the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, (and) its effects on Venezuela's neighbors, and the need for external actors, including Cuba, Russia and China, stop supporting Nicolás Maduro "said spokesman Morgan Ortagus in a statement.

The head of US diplomacy reiterated the support of Washington, "in this difficult time of transition", the Venezuelan opposition Juan Guaidó, whom more than 50 countries recognize as the governor in charge of Venezuela.

Peru was the promoter of the Lima Group, created in 2017 by a dozen American countries in search of a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela. Now it has 14 members.

In addition, Peru was among the first nations to recognize Guaidó when he proclaimed himself interim president following an interpretation of the Constitution, on January 23.

– Anti-corruption fight –

Pompeo also praised Peru's anti-drug campaign, which has allowed the eradication of thousands of hectares of coca leaf crops, the raw material of cocaine.

Peru, one of the three largest producers of cocaine in the world, produces more than 400 tons a year of the drug, according to official figures.

"Despite the seriousness of the situation in Venezuela", Pompeo stressed that she "did not monopolize" their conversations in Lima, and stressed that they also discussed "on how Peru has been fighting public corruption as one of its priorities".

The future of four former Peruvian presidents is in the hands of justice in cases related to the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which admitted before US justice that it paid 29 million dollars in bribes in Peru to award public works contracts.

The Secretary of State reiterated in Lima the criticisms made in Santiago to China, which has expanded its ties with Latin America and is now the largest trading partner of Peru and Chile.

Pompeo he had a meeting on Saturday with the staff of the United States Embassy in Lima and his relatives, and then dined with a dozen selected Peruvian businessmen in the residence of the American ambassador, Krishna Urs.

The official did not schedule public activities in Lima this Sunday before traveling to Colombia.

In Asunción, Pompeo spoke on Saturday with Paraguayan Foreign Minister Luis Castiglioni and President Mario Abdo, who on January 10, when Maduro was sworn in for a second six-year term, broke relations with Venezuela.

Source: AFP



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