US President Donald Trump said Thursday he was saddened by the crisis in Venezuela, where waves of anti-government unrest has claimed the lives of 28 people.
"Venezuela is a mess," Trump said in response to a reporter's question as he received Argentine President Mauricio Macri to the White House.
"I'm very sad for Venezuela, very sad to see what's happened in Venezuela," he said. "Venezuela is a very sad situation."
His comments come as the government of leftist President Nicolas Maduro prepares to withdraw from the Organization of American States, a Washington-based regional grouping that encompasses all countries in the western hemisphere but Cuba.
The Maduro government charges that a group of countries led by the United States is using the OAS to try to force him from office.
Venezuela, a major oil producer on the brink of economic collapse, has been hit by waves of anti-government protests in response to deteriorating living conditions and a deepening political impasse.
Caracas announced it was withdrawing from the OAS after the group called a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the crisis.
Venezuela is expected to submit a letter of complaint later Thursday, formally setting in motion its withdrawal from the organization, a process that takes 24 months.