Speaking at the Organization of American States, Vice President Mike Pence quoted the Charter of the OAS: “Representative democracy is an indispensable condition for stability, peace and development.” Free nations throughout the hemisphere, he stated, can attest to that truth.
But there are places in the hemisphere under a “dark cloud of tyranny,” Vice President Pence said: among them, Cuba, where the police state imposed by the Castro family remains; and Nicaragua, where hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets to demand a return to democratic order only to be met in some instances with deadly force.
It is in Venezuela, however, where the tragedy of tyranny is on full display. Grinding poverty, corruption, oppression and exile are the results of authoritarian misrule by President Nicolas Maduro, who has replaced the country’s “once-great democracy with dictatorship.” If the Venezuelan people had the chance, they would choose a better path.
The Vice President called the upcoming May 20th elections in Venezuela “a fraud and a sham.” The regime callously portions out access to affordable food to manipulate votes.The courts and the electoral Council are packed with Maduro cronies; major parties have been banned; opposition leaders have been barred from running; and dissidents jailed:
“That’s why today we call on Maduro and his regime: Suspend this sham election…Give the people of Venezuela real choices, because the people of Venezuela deserve to live in democracy once again.”
Vice President Pence noted that in order to hold the Maduro regime responsible for the chaos it has caused, the U.S. has imposed, among other measures, strict financial sanctions on more than 50 current and former senior officials, and has barred the “Petro” digital currency from the U.S. financial system.
Vice President Pence called on nations in the Western Hemisphere to do more to stand with Venezuela’s people by suspending Venezuela from membership in the organization; cutting off Venezuela’s corrupt leaders from laundering money through their countries’ financial systems, and enacting visa restrictions that prevent Venezuela’s leaders from entering their nations.
“The people of Venezuela deserve democracy,” Mr. Pence said. “The people of Venezuela deserve to regain their libertad.”