United States Vice President Mike Pence
United States Vice President Mike Pence

Pence to meet Guaido at Lima Group Summit

ANI | Updated: Feb 24, 2019 10:24 IST

Washington [US], Feb 24 (ANI): United States Vice President Mike Pence will meet self-proclaimed Venezuela President Juan Guaido at the Lima Group Summit in Bogota on Monday to "voice the United States' wavering support to the interim president and to highlight the Venezuelan people's fight for democracy over dictatorship".
"At the invitation of the President of Colombia Ivan Duque, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Bogota, Colombia on behalf of President Donald Trump on Monday, February 25th to voice the United States’ unwavering support for interim President Juan Guaido and highlight the Venezuelan people’s fight for democracy over dictatorship," read a press statement.
As per the scheduled, the Vice President will deliver remarks at a meeting of the Lima Group focused "on addressing the tragic humanitarian and security crises unfolding in Venezuela and ongoing U.S. efforts to deliver aid to the country".  
According to the White House, Pence will state plainly that the time has come for socialist President Nicolas Maduro to step aside.
This will be the fifth visit of the Vice President to Venezuela. In the previous trips, Pence had met the Venezuelan who had fled their country.
The Lima Group – formed in 2017 to oppose Maduro's government – have rejected Maduro’s election victory and have been working alongside the US and the opposition to topple the Venezuelan leader.  
Meanwhile, former United States President Bill Clinton has also extended his support to the National Assembly leader. 
"The heartbreaking violence in Venezuela must stop. I stand with President @JGuaido, the National Assembly, and the people of #Venezuela as they embrace their right to live in peace, choose their leaders, and decide their future, in harmony with their neighbours," tweeted Clinton. 
Last month, Vice President Pence had met with Carlos Vecchio, ambassador of Venezuela to the United States; Julio Borges, ambassador of Venezuela to the Lima Group, and other Venezuelan officials to express the strong support of the United States for the Venezuelan National Assembly and the government of President Juan Guaido.
The US had also claimed that the Maduro regime is also stopping the humanitarian aid to reach people. 
On February 18, the Trump administration announced new sanctions targeting five high-profile figures in the Maduro regime and security service 
The South American nation is crippled with a political and economic crisis since January. 
The political crisis began in Venezuela on January 24 when Guaido marched against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and announced himself as interim president. 
The economic crisis in the nation, coupled with a food shortage, has strengthened an anti-Maduro sentiment across the South American nation, with the opposition accusing Maduro of "usurping power."
A defiant Maduro, who is backed by the country's powerful military, claimed that the opposition protests are an attempt by the US to stage a coup and overthrow him. (ANI)