DeSantis, Pompeo discuss Venezuela during Miami visit

Governor, secretary of state meet with Venezuelan exiles frustrated with lack of progress

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Gov. Ron DeSantis meet with a small group of Venezuelan exiles.

MIAMI – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined Gov. Ron DeSantis for a roundtable discussion Thursday morning in Miami.

They met with a small group of Venezuelan exiles who live in Doral to assure them that the U.S. remains fully committed to interim President Juan Guaido.

DeSantis admitted they have every right to be frustrated with the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

“Look, I mean, I wouldn’t have called him down here if we weren’t a little frustrated that we haven’t seen any progress with it,” DeSantis told reporters. “I do think though that the Cuban situation -- I mean, (disputed President Nicolas) Maduro, the people around him are all Cubans, you know, and that’s really what it is, and I think that his ability to keep paying the military allows him to stay in there.”

Also on hand was U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., who likened the crisis in Venezuela to a cancer.

“This is very simple,” he said. “We have an administration that understands that there is a cancer in this hemisphere, and that cancer is Venezuela. It’s Cuba. It’s Nicaragua. And while some in the past have thought that when you deal with a cancer, you legitimize it and you help fund it and you feed it, this administration understands that that is not the way you deal with a cancer.”

Venezuelans who have escaped from that country don’t enjoy temporary protected status in the U.S., meaning they are subject to deportation. Hundreds of Venezuelans have been already.

Diaz-Balart admitted that’s not a good policy.

About the Author:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter.