LIMA – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a visit to Lima on Saturday praised Peru for taking in 700,000 Venezuelans fleeing the political and humanitarian crisis in their country.
Pompeo spoke to reporters alongside Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru Nestor Popolizio after meeting President Martin Vizcarra in Lima.
“They, the people of Peru, generously host almost three quarters of a million refugees from Venezuela,” Pompeo said at the presidential palace.
“They fled their home country to escape the breakdown of health services, the limited water supply, the bare breadshelves, rolling blackouts and hyperinflation – part of the reason the United States has provided more than $30 million in humanitarian aid to Peru, complimenting your government’s efforts to provide protection for these Venezuelans,” he added.
Pompeo said that Peru has “felt firsthand the effects of the disastrous Nicolas Maduro” administration, which Popolizio described as “illegitimate.”
The US Secretary of State also thanked Peru for supporting Juan Guaido as the leader of the interim government in Venezuela and said that the responsibility of the country’s refugees “lies squarely with Nicolas Maduro, not any policies that any democratic nation has taken with our deep intent to make lives better for the Venezuelan people.”
“We in each case have exactly the same objective (as Peru). Our objective is to allow people to stay in their home countries... We want to create conditions in these countries where they can stay in their own country and they don’t have the need to migrate somewhere else from Venezuela,” Pompeo said.
Popolizio said that Peru was working with the other countries of the Lima Group to step up international pressure to isolate Maduro’s regime and to support the people of Venezuela through humanitarian aid.
“In Venezuela, there is a systematic violation of human rights. We have to continue isolating Maduro’s illegitimate and dictatorial regime,” he added.
The Peruvian minister said that Peru, with the Lima Group, the Organization of American States and the Security Council, is carrying out a number of activities to complement the measures that the United States and other countries of the European Union have already taken in economic terms to isolate Maduro’s regime.
“In Venezuela, human rights are constantly being violated, as well as the freedoms. So we’re going to continue working under the scope of the Lima Group as well as with other countries to continue to isolate the illegitimate government of dictator Nicolas Maduro,” Popolizio said.
Pompeo and the Peruvian president also discussed bilateral trade, which Pompeo said has “virtually doubled” since the signing of the trade agreement between the two countries in 2009, as well as the fight against corruption and drug-trafficking in the South American country.
Pompeo, whose tour includes Chile and Paraguay, will travel to the Venezuelan border in Colombia on Sunday to assess the situation of thousands of migrants fleeing Venezuela.