Apr 13, 2019 16:28 Asia/Tehran

US Secretary of State defended sanctions on Venezuela and said the United States would not quit the fight in the socialist-run Latin American nation which is spiraling into deepening the economic and political crisis.

Iran Press/America: Mike Pompeo is on a three-day trip to Chile, Paraguay, and Peru, a clutch of fast-growing countries in a region where Washington's concerns are focused on China's growing presence as well as the Venezuelan crisis.

"The United States and its allies will not quit this fight," he said during an event in the Chilean capital Santiago, adding that the country would keep supporting Venezuelans "courageously standing up for democracy in their home country", Reuters reported.

"It's a historic opportunity when you have all but a handful of countries that are truly market-driven, democratic in ways that you haven't had in South America for decades," Pompeo told reporters earlier en route to Santiago, where he met with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

Pompeo traveled on Friday to Paraguay, the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to the country since 1965, a gesture experts say underscores U.S. commitment to the region.

On Sunday he is set to visit Cucuta, a Colombian border city receiving significant numbers of Venezuelan migrants fleeing hunger and violence in their homeland.

The administration of US President Donald Trump, which has recognized Guaido’s self-proclamation as 'interim president', has threatened Caracas with a strong response in the event of his arrest.

Before the vote against Guaido was announced, Republican Senator Marco Rubio accused the Venezuelan government of plotting a coup d’état and trying to “abduct” Guaido.

This is while Maduro assumed office after winning the presidential election. Juan Guaido was unheard of until he unilaterally declared himself the leader of Venezuela.

Maduro has accused Washington of attempting a coup to overthrow his elected government and install its own “puppet” regime in the oil-rich Latin American country. 104/211/202

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