Trump officials show support for Guaidó's uprising in Venezuela

Several administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, expressed support for an uprising led by Juan Guaidó in Venezuela Tuesday. Guaidó, the president of the National Assembly, has declared himself interim president of Venezuela and has been recognized as the country’s rightful leader by the U.S. and dozens of other countries.

Guaidó announced Tuesday morning that key factions of the military were supporting his leadership instead of that of President Nicolas Maduro, and called on Venezuelans to take to the streets to show their opposition to the Maduro regime. Guaidó said that this effort, which he calls “Operacion Libertad” — Operation Liberty — would be the “final phase” of the plan to oust Maduro.

Pence wrote on Twitter that the U.S. will stand with Venezuela “until freedom & democracy are restored.”

“To @jguaido, the National Assembly and all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today in #operacionlibertad-Estamos con ustedes! We are with you! America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored. Vayan con dios! #FreeVenezuela,” Pence wrote on the official Twitter account for the vice president.

Pompeo also wrote that “the U.S. Government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy” in a tweet Tuesday morning. Bolton responded to Vladimir Padrino, the defense minister of Venezuela, who asserted on Tuesday that Maduro’s administration “reject[s] this coup movement” by Guaidó and his supporters.

“The United States stands with the people of Venezuela,” Bolton said in a tweet which tagged Padrino.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, told reporters Tuesday morning that “Maduro has got to go.”

“This will finally get the Venezuelan people the freedom that they need,” Conway said, adding that millions of Venezuelans have fled to Colombia and Brazil to escape the ongoing conflict. “I’m sure they would prefer to be in their home country, but they simply cant stay there and be expected to survive or thrive.”

Conway said that the administration was “monitoring” Guaidó’s actions in Venezuela, and that the U.S. wants a “peaceful transition.”

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