"You'll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks, who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people," Pompeo told the network. "We're determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say."
The administration of US President Donald Trump has taken a hard line against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who took office promising to continue the legacy of the widely popular Bolivarian leader who preceded him, Hugo Chavez.
In August 2017, Trump issued his first round of sanctions against the country, calling it a "dictatorship." Then again, in May 2018, one day after Maduro again won the office of the presidency in a democratic election, the US imposed another round.
While Maduro has accused the US of engaging in economic warfare and sabotage, the US has at times taken a more active role in undermining the government. After an August 4 assassination attempt against Maduro involving a drone strapped with explosives, Caracas accused the US of backing the perpetrators.
— McClatchyDC (@McClatchyDC) July 24, 2018
In July, McClatchy revealed a State Department psychological plot to convince Maduro that a member of his "inner circle" was actually a CIA plant in order to make him distrustful. In the expose, US officials described a conversation on tactics to increase paranoia in the Venezuelan government between Fernando Cutz, at the time a senior member of the National Security Council, and William Brownfield, who previously was the US ambassador to Venezuela. “Think about being strategic,” Brownfield told Cutz, regarding the imposition of sanctions. "Don't just hit everyone because you can. Hit the right people and then maybe get others to just be scared and wonder when they’ll get hit.”
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) September 12, 2018
In early September, the New York Times revealed that the Trump administration had discussed plans to overthrow Maduro in a violent coup with opposition leaders.
After a 2002 failed coup attempt against the government, then-President Chavez accused the United States of participating in it. America reportedly "gave the nod" to the opposition at the time before they went ahead with the regime change attempt.