US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today that Venezuelan President-elect Nicolas Maduro is expected to leave his post "within a week or a month."
"Maduro must realize that he is falling apart. As I said, he still commands, but he can not rule at all, "said Mike Pompeo to reporters during the flight to Finland, adding that the President-elect will already be making plans to leave Caracas.
For the head of US diplomacy, such abandonment must happen "within a week or within a month."
"Although Maduro was able to maintain control of the army, many soldiers have withdrawn from them, including a senior intelligence official linked to the President and his predecessor (Hugo Chavez)," Pompeo said.
The United States has called on the Venezuelan army to withdraw its support for Nicolas Maduro, so that self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaidó can guarantee conditions for marking "free and democratic elections."
The head of US diplomacy is expected to discuss the political crisis in Venezuela today with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in Helsinki, Finland.
Last week, Mike Pompeo said that Maduro had been prepared to leave Venezuela following an attempted coup by the opposition, but that he would have given up the intention by influence of the Russian government, which persuaded him to remain in Caracas .
Sergei Lavrov has already denied this version and in recent days has again accused the US of illegal interference in Venezuela, having had a telephone call with Mike Pompeo last week.
This conversation preceded another telephone meeting between the US and Russian presidents, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, respectively, in which the issue of a failed coup attempt in Venezuela was addressed.
Pompeo devalued another meeting, this one held on Sunday between Sergei Lavrov and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, in which the Kremlin reiterated its support for the Venezuelan President-elect.
"Lavrov did not actually meet with a Venezuelan official, but with someone who is close to Maduro, who is a renegade, not the real leader of Venezuela," Pompeo said.