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U.S.'s Pompeo discusses Venezuela with Brazil's new right-wing government

U.S.'s Pompeo discusses Venezuela with Brazil's new right-wing government
Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo observes as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes -
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BRASILIA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Venezuela with the foreign minister of Brazil's new right-wing government on Wednesday, in the context of what he termed a joint front against authoritarian regimes in Latin America.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with Brazil's new Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, Pompeo named Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua as countries that do not have shared democratic values.

"We have an opportunity to work alongside each other against authoritarian regimes," he said of the United States and Brazil, a day after the inauguration of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

In response, Venezuela's foreign ministry said in a statement it "categorically rejected" Pompeo's "interventionist attitude," accusing him of seeking to rally support among Latin American countries for "forcible regime change" in Venezuela.

More than three million Venezuelans have fled hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine in the OPEC nation, with most of them having left since 2015, according to the United Nations. Nearby South American countries like Brazil and Colombia have received the bulk of the migrants.

The United States has placed sanctions on Venezuela's debt and on some officials in socialist President Nicolas Maduro's government, which it accuses of corruption and human rights violations. Maduro frequently blames a U.S.-led "economic war" for the country's woes.

(Reporting by Mary Milliken and Anthony Boadle; Additional reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Bernadette Baum)

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