Vice President Mike Pence lobbied the United Nations on Wednesday to remove the credentials of Nicolás Maduro’s envoy Samuel Moncada, citing the illegitimacy of Venezuela’s ruling socialist regime over the troubled South American country.
At a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Pence directly addressed Venezuelan envoy Samuel Moncada soon after he had spoken.
“With all due respect, Mr. Ambassador, you shouldn’t be here,” Pence said after Moncada spoke. “You should return to Venezuela and tell Nicolas Maduro that his time is up. It’s time for him to go.”
Pence then went on to urge the body to strip Moncada of his credentials, saying it should instead allow opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognized by the U.S. and most other Western democracies as the country’s rightful president, to send his own ambassador.
“Up to this point, while other international bodies have acted, the United Nations and this Security Council have refused to act,” he continued. “But now that nations across this hemisphere have spoken, the time has come for the United Nations to recognize Interim President Juan Guaidó as the legitimate President of Venezuela and seat his representative in this body.”
“This body should revoke the credentials of Venezuela’s representative to the United Nations, recognize Interim President Juan Guaidó, and seat the representative of the free Venezuelan government in this body without delay,” he continued.
The regime has long used the United Nations as a platform to rail against the U.S. and other opponents of their socialist project. Last year, Maduro used his speech at the annual General Assembly to tell the world that Venezuela is “stronger than ever” despite the desperate economic and humanitarian crisis ravaging the country’s basic ability to function.
In recent months, the U.S. has stepped up its efforts to help remove Maduro from power. Washington recognized Guaidó as president and placing fresh economic sanctions against the regime and its financial entities. The sanctions are mainly intended to stifle Maduro’s ability to access foreign revenue streams as the U.S. has handed control of various Venezuelan bank accounts to Guaidó and his economic advisers.
The efforts have so far proved unsuccessful. Maduro still retains the vital support of the military, as well as support from China and Russia in the form of troops and military equipment. Following the meeting on Wednesday, Pence told reporters that momentum was now building against the regime and that he hoped other nations join efforts to oust Maduro from office.
“We really do believe that freedom has the momentum but now it’s time for this body, this historic institution to step forward and to give voice to that momentum and we’re going to be reaching out to nations across the world to join us,” he said.