US' Mike Pompeo tells Venezuelans: 'The time for transition is now'

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) and US President Donald Trump.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) and US President Donald Trump.PHOTO: WASHINGTON POST/JABIN BOTSFORD

WASHINGTON (DPA) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will partner with the people of Venezuela in the toppling of President Nicolas Maduro in a video message on Saturday (May 4).

"The time for transition is now, no more starvation, no more children without medicine, no more repression," Pompeo said.

"The United States will partner with you at every step," he added.

Pompeo also blasted the Russian government along with Cuba for helping the Maduro government create "misery," contradicting US President Donald Trump's statement this week that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "not looking at all to get involved" in Venezuela.

Backed by more than 50 countries, opposition leader Juan Guaido has been trying to topple Maduro since January, but the president has held on to power thanks to the support of the vast majority of the army, despite hundreds of soldiers defecting to Colombia and Brazil.

Guaido has called on his supporters to march to military barracks and bases on Saturday in a bid to persuade the army to change sides.

The army will be handed "a document, a proclamation," he said on Friday.