Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the Palace Hotel on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York City [Darren Ornitz/Reuters]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday accused Cuba and Venezuela of attempting to “hijack” democratic protests in Latin America, vowing that Washington would support countries trying to prevent unrest in the region from “morphing into riots”.

Amid recent demonstrations in a number of countries in the region, Pompeo stepped up allegations that Cuba and Venezuela had helped stir up unrest but offered few specifics to back his comments.

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Pompeo cited recent political protests in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador and said that Colombia had closed its border to Venezuela out of concern

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