'Venezuela is a mess,' says Donald Trump

Trump and wife Melania welcome Macri and wife Juliana to the White House.
Trump and wife Melania welcome Macri and wife Juliana to the White House.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump said on Thursday (April 27) he was saddened by the crisis in Venezuela, where waves of anti-government unrest has claimed the lives of 29 people.

"Venezuela is a mess," Trump said in response to a reporter's question as he received Argentine President Mauricio Macri to the White House.

"I'm very sad for Venezuela, very sad to see what's happened in Venezuela," he said. "Venezuela is a very sad situation."

His comments come as the government of leftist President Nicolas Maduro prepares to withdraw from the Organisation of American States (OAS), a Washington-based regional grouping that encompasses all countries in the western hemisphere but Cuba.

The Maduro government charges that a group of countries led by the United States is using the OAS to try to force him from office.

Venezuela, a major oil producer on the brink of economic collapse, has been hit by waves of anti-government protests in response to deteriorating living conditions and a deepening political impasse.

Caracas announced it was withdrawing from the OAS after the group called a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the crisis.

Venezuela is expected to submit a letter of complaint later Thursday, formally setting in motion its withdrawal from the organisation, a process that takes 24 months.