Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was close to boarding a plane for Cuba on Tuesday morning amid the uprising in his country before the Russians talked him out of leaving.
"We've watched throughout the day, it's been a long time since anyone's seen Maduro," Pompeo told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "He had an airplane on the tarmac, he was ready to leave this morning, as we understand it, and the Russians indicated he should stay.
"He was headed for Havana."
Venezuela is in chaos after opposition leader Juan Guaidó launched a military uprising Tuesday morning.
Pompeo said the U.S. has spoken with scores of people on the ground in Venezuela all day, who confirmed "Maduro's plane was parked on the tarmac and he was preparing himself to depart."
"There's no way that Maduro can stay in the country, in a nation that he has so decimated. We can't imagine a way that that could possibly work.
"It's time for him to leave Venezuela."
In another interview with Fox News, Pompeo noted Guaidó has been out in the open throughout much of the day while Maduro has not.
"Nicolás Maduro has been hiding all day – so much for nerves of steel," Pompeo said.
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