Standing Up for Democracy and Rule of Law in Venezuela

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Vice President Pence addresses a UN Security Council meeting on Venezuela on April 10, 2019.
Vice President Pence addresses a UN Security Council meeting on Venezuela on April 10, 2019.

Standing Up for Democracy and Rule of Law in Venezuela

On April 9, President Trump welcomed Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States Carlos Veccio to the White House for a credentialing ceremony. The United States accepted interim President Juan Guaido’s designation of Carlos Vecchio for this role on January 25, 2019.

On April 9-11, Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams met with Portuguese and Spanish officials in Lisbon and Madrid to discuss the deteriorating situation in Venezuela. The United States, Portugal, and Spain support a Venezuelan-led transition toward free and fair elections. The United States is committed to supporting the restoration of democracy in Venezuela, as outlined in their constitution and through the actions of Interim President Juan Guaido and the National Assembly.

On April 9, the Organization of American States voted in favor of a resolution to recognize Gustavo Tarre Briceño as the legitimate representative of interim President Juan Guaido. U.S. Ambassador to the OAS Carlos Trujillo said, “The OAS Permanent Council resolution adopted today to seat Tarra Briceño as the legitimate representative of Venezuela at the OAS is a victory for the Venezuelan people, their freedom, and the defense of democracy.”

On April 9, Secretary Pompeo met with United Nations Officials at the State Department to discuss a number of global issues including the situation in Venezuela. Secretary Pompeo and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore discussed UNICEF’s crucial work in humanitarian settings such as Venezuela and Yemen, where there are more than 11 million children urgently in need of humanitarian assistance. The Secretary and UN World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley discussed the situation in Venezuela, and the difficult humanitarian circumstances forcing millions of Venezuelans to flee their country in search of basic necessities, including food and medicine.

On April 10, Vice President Mike Pence addressed a United Nations Security Council meeting focused on the humanitarian situation in Venezuela in New York. In his remarks, he underscored the suffering of the people of Venezuela over the last six years. Vice President Pence stated, “The Maduro regime’s socialist policies have shrunk their economy by nearly half. In what was once one of the wealthiest countries in our hemisphere, 9 out of 10 people now live in poverty. The average Venezuelan has lost more than 20 pounds through deprivation and malnutrition. Thousands of Venezuelan children are starving. And at this very hour, infants in hospitals across Venezuela are dying for lack of basic medical care.” 

He continued, “The Maduro regime is not only a threat to the Venezuelan people; it is a threat to peace and security of the wider region as well. The rising desperation in Venezuela has fueled a mass exodus, the likes of which we have never seen in the Western Hemisphere. More than 3 million Venezuelans have now abandoned their beloved country. And if things don’t get better, it is estimated that another 2 million are expected to follow before the year is out.”

At the Security Council, the Vice President announced that the United States is providing nearly $61 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support the regional response for the 3.4 million Venezuelans who have fled the man-made crisis in their country. The funding from this announcement, provided by the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), complements the relief supplies that the United States and its partners have pre-positioned in Brazil, Colombia, and Curaçao since February 7, 2019.

The United States has provided more than $213 million in humanitarian assistance to provide life-saving aid and critical basic social services – including shelter, emergency food and health assistance, safe drinking water, protection from violence and exploitation, and access to work and education opportunities – to the most vulnerable Venezuelans living in 16 countries in the region. This assistance complements the efforts of host countries to help those who have fled repression and chaos in Venezuela.

On April 11, Secretary Pompeo departs on a trip to the Western Hemisphere that will include a brief stop in Cucuta, Colombia, on April 14 to visit entities supporting Venezuelan refugees and assess the challenges due to the closed border. Follow @SecPompeo and @StateDept on Twitter to follow the Secretary’s visit.