Standing for Democracy and Prosperity in Venezuela

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U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo Speaks on the Situation in Venezuela at the United Nations Security Council
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo Speaks on the Situation in Venezuela at the United Nations Security Council

Standing for Democracy and Prosperity in Venezuela

On January 23, 2019, President Donald J. Trump recognized Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela, and on January 28, issued an Executive Order on taking additional steps to address the national emergency with respect to Venezuela.  

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo reiterated the President’s recognition in a statement on January 23, strongly supporting interim President Guaido’s courageous decision to assume his role in order to restore democracy to Venezuela.  

“The new Venezuelan government carries the flame of democracy on behalf of Venezuela. The United States pledges our continued support to President Guaido, the National Assembly, and the Venezuelan people.” -- Secretary Pompeo

On January 24, Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks at the Organization of American States, where he urged OAS member states to align themselves with democracy and respect for rule of law, and to show leadership by pledging support for Venezuela’s democratic transition and interim President Guaido’s role therein.   

Secretary Pompeo also announced on January 24 that the United States is ready to provide more than $20 million in initial humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela as they struggle to cope with severe food and medicine shortages and the other dire impacts of their country’s political and economic crisis. 

On January 25, the United States accepted Interim President Guaido’s designation of Carlos Vecchio as Chargé d’Affaires of the Government of Venezuela.  In a meeting at the State Department, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier reaffirmed U.S. support for Interim President Guaido’s leadership. 

In a press briefing on January 25, Secretary Pompeo announced that Elliot Abrams would join the State Department to lead efforts on Venezuela. Under President Reagan, Abrams served as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs and assistant secretary for inter-American affairs. Under President George W. Bush, he served on the National Security Council. Secretary Pompeo said, "Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country." 

On January 26, Secretary Pompeo traveled to New York City to speak before the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Venezuela. The Secretary called upon every nation to support the people of Venezuela and to recognize the new democratic government led by interim President Guaido. 

In his remarks at the UN Security Council meeting, Secretary Pompeo said, "We stand with the Venezuelan people as they seek to build a better life for themselves and we cannot ignore the suffering or tyranny taking place in this proud nation. Neither should other countries who care about freedom and prosperity." 

On January 28, the United States determined that persons operating in Venezuela’s oil sector may now be subject to sanctions.  State-owned companies like Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) have been used to control, manipulate, and steal from the Venezuelan people.  

The United States continues to take a whole of government approach to supporting the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people through diplomatic engagement, economic sanctions, and humanitarian assistance.  

“We hope that every nation will join us in recognizing interim president Juan Guaido… We must stand for the rule of law and support the leader who the Venezuelan people have affirmed through their constitution as the interim president of their country.” -- Secretary Pompeo

Read more about how the United States is supporting the Venezuelan people here.