Vice President Mike Pence reached out to Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó on Wednesday to reiterate the Trump administration’s commitment to supporting the cause of freedom from Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime.
“Spoke with courageous Interim President Juan Guaidó of Venezuela by phone today,” Pence announced on Twitter on Wednesday evening. “Told him America will continue to stand with Venezuela until freedom is restored! The people of Venezuela are suffering under dictatorship and oppression. Nicolas Maduro must go.
Pence did not provide further details of their conversation, although it is presumed the pair discussed how the U.S. can continue to weaken the Maduro regime to the brink of collapse, thus allowing a democratic transition in the country led by Guaidó, who the U.S. and most other Western democracies recognize as Venezuela’s legitimate president.
“The United States strongly accompanies the roadmap that we have drawn up to achieve freedom,” Guaidó wrote in response. “We thank the U.S. government and Vice President Mike Pence for their firm commitment to Venezuelans. We have our allies to achieve the change that Venezuela needs.”
Since Trump came to office in 2017, his administration has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to removing the Maduro regime from power and taken various steps to weaken the regime, including economic sanctions and throwing its diplomatic support behind Guaidó.
Pence is one of the various figures within the Trump administration to take a personal interest in finding a solution to the Venezuela crisis, which has also become a rapidly worsening humanitarian catastrophe. In February, he traveled to Colombia to meet with Guaidó and other regional leaders, where he reaffirmed the White House’s position that “all options are on the table” for removing Maduro, including the use of military force.
“The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy, between oppression and freedom, between the suffering of millions of Venezuelans and the opportunity of a ‘new future’ of freedom and prosperity,” the U.S. vice president said during his visit.
To President @jguaido of Venezuela, it is a great privilege to share this moment. I bring you and President of Colombia @IvanDuque a very simple message from @POTUS Trump & the United States of America: We are with you 100%. pic.twitter.com/iEaTyDvB7i
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 25, 2019
In January, Pence also filmed a personal message to the people of Venezuela, describing Maduro as a “dictator with no legitimate claim to power.”
“[Maduro] has never won the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip of power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him,” he said in a video filmed ahead of Guaidó’s inauguration as interim president.
“As you make your voices heard tomorrow, on behalf of the American people, we say to all the good people of Venezuela: Estamos con ustedes,” he continued. “We are with you, we stand with you, and we will stay with you until democracy is restored and you reclaim your birthright of libertad.”