Mike Pence vows US will stand by as Venezuela 'crumbles'

Mike Pence vows US will stand by as Venezuela 'crumbles'

US vice president Mike Pence is meeting people who have fled from Venezuela to Colombia as he seeks to draw attention to a deepening political crisis under Nicolas Maduro.

Mr Pence is visiting the Calvary Chapel in Cartagena, where he will meet faith leaders and Venezuelan families before departing to Buenos Aires, Argentina, later on Monday.

His wife, Karen Pence, helped to lead a prayer circle, where she prayed for "comfort to the Venezuelan refugees".

Mr Pence's visit comes as he tries to rally the region against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's attempts to consolidate power.

Mr Pence denounced Mr Maduro's tactics and said the US will not stand by as Venezuela "crumbles."

Venezuelan officials have been firing back in a series of statements, with information minister Ernest Villegas denouncing US meddling in Venezuela's affairs as hypocritical.

Linking photos of the recent deadly clashes in Virginia, Mr Villegas wrote on Twitter: "The US and its satellite in Bogota are trying to give classes in democracy to Venezuela while it provides cover for neo-Nazis in its own territory."

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