Pence to address American states ahead of Venezuela poll

US Vice President Mike Pence's speech comes as lawmakers are calling on the Trump administration to take a harder line on President Nicolas Maduro's regime
AFP

Washington (AFP) – US Vice President Mike Pence will address the Organization of American States on May 7, aides told AFP Friday, a bid to ramp up the pressure on the Venezuelan regime ahead of crunch elections.

Pence has accepted an invitation to address the bloc in Washington, when the focus will, in part, be on holding “undemocratic actors” accountable.

The organization, and the region, has been deadlocked between members keen to hold Venezuela accountable for democratic backsliding and long-standing allies of President Nicolas Maduro.

The address will come two weeks before a divisive presidential poll in Venezuela on May 20 which is being boycotted by the opposition and branded illegitimate by much of the international community. 

“The Vice President will reaffirm our commitment to increasing economic prosperity and joint security cooperation with our friends and allies in the Western Hemisphere,” said spokeswoman Alyssa Farah.

Pence will also “hold undemocratic actors in the region accountable for their actions,” she added.

The speech comes as lawmakers are calling on the Trump administration to take a harder line on Maduro’s regime.

US Senator Marco Rubio has gone as far as calling for Washington to press for regime change.

“It is time for the region’s democratic nations to work together and hasten Maduro’s exit from power,” he wrote in a recent opinion article.

He called specifically for additional sanctions against the government, coordination to ease the humanitarian crisis and begin work on a “Marshall Plan” to rebuild the country have Maduro is ousted.

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