In his speech to the Summit of the Americas, Vice President Mike Pence warned, “The greatest corruption of government is when the people lose their voice, their vote, their freedom, and their basic human rights under the heavy hand of dictatorship.”
This is particularly true in Cuba where “a tired communist regime continues to impoverish its people and deny their most fundamental rights. . . The Castro regime has systematically sapped the wealth of a great nation and stolen the lives of a proud people,” said Mr. Pence. The United States has taken decisive action to stand with the Cuban people and stand up to their oppressors.
“Cuba’s dictatorship has not only beset its own people,” noted Vice President Pence, but has “also sought to export their failed ideology across the wider region,” including “aiding and abetting the corrupt dictatorship in Venezuela.”
Not long ago, Venezuela was one of the hemisphere’s richest nations. It is now among the poorest. Venezuela was also once a flourishing democracy. It has now collapsed into dictatorship and tyranny.
Clearly, said Vice President Pence, “the responsibility for the Venezuelan people’s suffering can be laid at the feet of one man — Nicolas Maduro.” Today, nearly 9 out of 10 Venezuelans live in grinding poverty. Food and daily necessities are often impossible to find. Hospitals lack the most basic medical services and supplies, putting lives at risk and causing untold misery and death.
And every day, some 5,000 Venezuelans flee in the largest cross-border mass exodus in the history of the hemisphere.
In response, the United States has imposed strict financial sanctions on more than 50 current or former senior Venezuelan officials. The United States also cut off Venezuela’s digital currency from the United States’ financial system.
Vice President Pence announced nearly 16 million more dollars of assistance for Venezuelans fleeing their country. This is in addition to the 2.5 million dollars pledged last month.
The United States believes now is the time to do more. Every free nation in the hemisphere must take stronger action to isolate the Maduro regime. The United States will not relent until democracy is restored in Venezuela and the Venezuelan people reclaim their birthright of liberty.