Mike Pompeo: “We consider our relationship with South America, Central America, Mexico, to be central to American success.”

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Speaking with VOA Spanish on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Mike Pompeo emphasized the importance of a constructive relationship with Mexico and Central and South America.

VOA: “This is the first time President Donald Trump visits the region, this could mean a new relationship with Latin America, taking into consideration that China is also getting new friends in the region.”

Pompeo: “Yes, well look, we consider our relationship with South America, Central America, Mexico, to be central to American success. President Trump has been committed to that since the beginning of his time in office. It’s wonderful now that he’s had a chance to get down here. He’s known (Argentina) President (Mauricio) Macri for a long time and they had a wonderful meeting yesterday where they came around a set of objectives that our two countries will now begin to implement. And so we’re excited about that, we think having a great close relationship with America is really important, and we are all concerned about China and the way China enters countries. It is not always the case that when China shows up, it’s with a good intention for the people of the country they are showing up to ostensibly support. It’s most often about China.”

VOA: “About Venezuela, President Trump talk about Venezuela with President Macri. Are there new actions being considered or analyzed to take against (Venezuelan President) Nicolas Maduro’s government and to help Venezuelans?”

Pompeo: “I don’t have anything specific that I can share with you today, but we’ve had a number of conversations down here at the G-20, and President Trump is very determined. The Maduro regime must restore democracy, the current situation is intolerable. The people of Venezuela are suffering, and democracy must be restored. We’ve done a great deal so far, along with many South American countries and Central American countries. We worry. We know we’ve had migration into Argentina and to other countries here. People fleeing this despot, this dictator in Venezuela. So I don’t have anything specific that I can share with you today, but the determination for all of the countries in the region to join hands with the United States, to restore democracy in Venezuela remains strong.”

VOA: “On immigration, hundreds of people from Central America try to enter the United States every day. What can the U.S. do to create more opportunities in Central America, in the region, for Central Americans so they don’t have the need to look forward for a better life in the U.S.?”

Pompeo: “That’s a great question. I’ve had the chance to get to know my incoming counterpart in Mexico. I’ve had a chance to work with the Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador). We are determined to do what the new government that will be sworn in today in Mexico has talked with us about to make sure we do create opportunities in the Northern Triangle so these people will have better lives there, after all that’s what it’s really all about. It’s the capacity to live their lives the way they want to with economic success and freedom. We’re committed to assisting in that, and in the time that we can’t get there, we’re also determined to make sure the human rights of the migrants are respected. At the same time, enforcing U.S. law.”

VOA: “After this trip, any new trip to visit any country in Latin America for you, Secretary Pompeo?”

Pompeo: “It’s very likely that I’ll be right back down here just right at the first of the year, and I’m looking forward to that. Nothing to announce, but I’ll be back. I’ve been here a number of times. I’ll be back before too long.”

Watch the full interview or check out the transcript from VOA here.