Mike Pence on Venezuela: "Nicolas Maduro Is A Dictator With No Legitimate Claim To Power"


Vice President Mike Pence discusses the problems surrounding Venezuela and how the U.S. is now recognizing Juan Guaido as the new interim president of the country.

TRISH REGAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: So we have a new president now in Venezuela, Presidente Guaido. You recognized him. The president recognized him today. And millions took to the streets today in Venezuela. Tell me what’s going on in that country and why it’s important that they have change.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people of Venezuela have suffered so much under the Maduro regime. It’s amazing to think that today nine out of 10 Venezuelans live in poverty. When -- when we traveled in 2017 to Columbia, we met with refugees.

A grandmother who with her four grandchildren marched all the way across Venezuela to go to Columbia because she said it had gotten so bad in their small town that the children had to rise at four in the morning to get one ticket to buy a piece of bread at four in the afternoon.

The Maduro regime has oppressed its people. It’s -- it’s became a haven for criminals and narco-terrorists, and President Trump has taken decisive action over the last two years to bring sanctions on officials in the Maduro regime.

We’ve isolated the regime economically and diplomatically. And today freedom broke out in Venezuela with the recognition of a new interim president in Juan Guaido, a courageous man who stepped forward, the president of the national assembly, who took the oath of office.

And I couldn’t be more proud that at President Trump’s direction, the United States of America became the first country in the world to recognize President Guaido. And now many other nations join us as well.

But the real work lies ahead and the United States is going to continue to bring the full weight of our economic and diplomatic pressure until freedom and democracy and fair elections are restored for the people of Venezuela.

REGAN: You mention that the work lies ahead. As it currently stands and this may change by the time we’re on the air this evening, but as it currently stands, Nicolas Maduro still thinks he’s president and has not expressed any willingness to resign.

What happens to him in this interim? The world recognizes President Guaido. The -- the people seem to just judging by the millions in the streets. But -- but what if Nicolas Maduro says hey, I’m not leaving.

PENCE: Nicolas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. The National Assembly is the duly-elected representative of the people and through their constitutional system and now the interim president, Juan Guaido; it represents the will of the people.

And you saw that will literally hundreds of thousands of people in demonstrations all across Venezuela today. It was -- it was truly inspiring to President Trump and me to see the way that people are rising up, reclaiming their birth right of libertad.

And our message to them before, during, and after today’s action is that we are with you. The American people stand with you. We see this as a hemisphere of freedom, and we will stand with the people of Venezuela until they reclaim freedom and democracy for their people.

REGAN: I want to get to that hemisphere issue in a second. But back to Nicolas Maduro. Does he still have enough control over the military? And if so, how challenging does that make the coming days ahead?

Don’t forget we tried this or it was tried Hugo Chavez back around 2002. It only lasted a couple days. Things were different then and he didn’t quite have as many people there on the ground on his side. But you know, it was fleeting. How do you make sure that this is a lasting change in Venezuela?

PENCE: Well, I think the outpouring of support for President Guaido today for a democratically elected national assembly not only made an impression on the world, but we hope that Nicolas Maduro will accept a peaceful transition of power in Venezuela, that he will accept the will of the people to move his country forward and embrace their new president, Juan Guaido.

But the people, as President Trump said today the people of Venezuela have suffered enough. That 3 million Venezuelans have fled their country because of deprivation and oppression and poverty.

Two million more are expected to flee Venezuela in the next year alone, the country is literally a failed state. And what President Guaido represents is a new beginning for the people of Venezuela. And thanks to President Trump’s leadership the United States of America is standing with the good people of Venezuela for that new beginning.

It is remarkable and you’ve covered this more than anyone else on the airways (ph), Trish. Here is a country that was arguably the second most prosperous nation in our hemisphere and its oil reserves are second only to those that we find in Saudi Arabia.

And yet because of the oppression the deprivation, the dictatorship and the socialists of the Maduro regime we’ve seen poverty the likes of which Latin America has not seen in decades.

That can change, the beginning of that change we hope and pray is today with the appointment of a new in-term president, and then moving to free and fair elections. The people of Venezuela rose up today and they should know that the American people stand with them.

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