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US secretary of state condemns Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘disgusting’ support for Maduro

Mike Pompeo hit out at the Labour leader over his previous support for Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro.

A Labour spokesman said the party opposed outside interference in Venezuela (Peter Byrne/PA)
A Labour spokesman said the party opposed outside interference in Venezuela (Peter Byrne/PA)

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has condemned Jeremy Corbyn, claiming it was “disgusting” for political leaders to support Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.

Mr Pompeo and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt hit out at senior Labour figures in response to questions about the crisis in Venezuela.

A Labour spokesman said the party opposed outside interference in Venezuela “whether from the US or anywhere else”.

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United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo was in London for talks with Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Opposition leader Juan Guaido has the backing of the US and the UK has recognised him as interim president, but Mr Maduro maintains his grip on power.

In response to a question about Mr Corbyn’s previous comments in support of Venezuela’s president, Mr Pompeo said: “It is disgusting to see leaders, not only in the United Kingdom but in the United States as well, who continue to support the murderous dictator Maduro.

“No leader from a country with Western democratic values ought to stand behind them.”

Mr Hunt added: “This is a country where three million people have fled the country, GDP has gone down by 40% in the last four years, people can’t access basic medicine, people are rifling through rubbish bags to get food in the streets.

“(Shadow chancellor) John McDonnell describes this as socialism in action and I think people need to draw their own conclusions about what his own plans might be for the UK.”

A Labour spokesman said: “We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the US or anywhere else: the future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s charge d’affaires in London was summoned to the Foreign Office for a dressing down over Moscow’s role in Venezuela.

Mr Hunt said: “We must intensify pressure on the regime, including through potential further sanctions, and condemn those who are propping up Maduro, particularly Russia, whose deployment of military personnel in Caracas will achieve nothing except prolong the suffering of the Venezuelan people.

“That’s why earlier today the Foreign Office expressed our deep concern about the Kremlin’s actions to the Russian charge d’affaires.”

PA

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