'Venezuela is a mess,' says Trump

Donald Trump was hosting Argentine President Mauricio Macri as Venezuela's leftist president prepares to withdraw from the Organization of American States

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.

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