At the end of their meeting saturday with Colombian President Iván Duque, they both pledged to strengthen ties – including U.S. investments in Colombia’s depressed economy – and Pompeo praised Colombia’s strong stance against Venezuelan representative Nicolás Maduro.Pompeo indicated that Colombia’s support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó «and the democratic transition to a sovereign Venezuela free from Cuba’s evil influence , Russia and Iran, is incredibly valuable.» You are a true leader for the region and the dignity of all its people,» Pompeo said at a press conference. In a separate statement, Pompeo announced additional $348 million assistance for Venezuelans, including the nearly five million people who have fled the crisis in his nation. Pompeo’s office stressed that new resources raise the total humanitarian and development aid that the United States has earmarked for the Venezuelan crisis to more than $1.2 billion since 2017.La Pompeo’s three-day tour of the region took place as the U.S. presidential election approaches, where Florida has received a growing Venezuelan diaspora and is a crucial state in which victory can lean towards any party. Duque highlighted a report by the main United Nations human rights agency accusing Maduro’s government of crimes against humanity, including torture and killings perpetrated by security forces.» The situation there is unsustainable,» he said. Strengthening support for President Donald Trump’s government policy toward Venezuela was the main purpose of the tour, which included stopovers in Guyana and Brazil, where Pompeo highlighted U.S. calls for a presidential election to replace Maduro. Pompeo also visited Suriname, which like Guyana is an emerging oil exporter. Colombia faces a wave of migrants fleeing Venezuela’s growing economic crisis as it accuses Caracas of supporting armed groups on Colombian territory. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people lost their jobs in Colombia, where unemployment rose to 20% during the nation’s long confinement and paralysis of activities. Although coronavirus cases increased slowly at first, Colombia now accumulates the sixth highest total of contagions in the world. Duque expressed confidence in attracting more U.S. investment to Colombia and praised a U.S. government initiative to increase private sector investment in infrastructure.