BUENOS AIRES - Venezuela views the visit of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo to Latin America as Washington’s attempt to exert pressure on the country and interfere in its internal affairs, the Bolivarian Republic’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The government of Venezuela categorically rejects interventionist actions of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, who arrived in Latin America to give direct instructions to the governments dependent on Washington to escalate aggression against Venezuelan people with the aim to change the country’s regime by force,” the ministry said.

This comes after earlier on Wednesday, media reported that Pompeo discussed with new Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo the cooperation against authoritarian regimes in Latin America, in particular, Venezuela. Moreover, the US official also said in a Twitter post on Wednesday he was ready to partner with Brazil’s newly sworn-in President Jair Bolsonaro in promoting human rights in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Later in the day, Pompeo is expected to meet with Colombian President Ivan Duque amid escalated tensions between Caracas and Bogota, with the Venezuelan authorities suspecting Columbia of being involved in plans to topple Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.