President Donald Trump took aim at socialism and left-wing ideology during his speech at the United Nations – specifically in the context of Venezuela, a socialist state currently experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in its history.
“The socialist Maduro regime has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse,” Trump said. “This dictatorship has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. ”
“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented,” Trump continued. “From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or Communism has been adopted it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenants of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people living under these cruel systems.”
Trump also confirmed his priority was to help Venezuelan people “regain their freedom.”
“The Venezuelan people are starving, and the country is collapsing,” Trump added. “Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. The situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch. As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal. That goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy.”
On Monday, Trump also held a meeting with Latin American leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, where he revealed the U.S. is prepared to “take further action” to prevent Venezuela’s democratic collapse.
We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela, and we want it to happen very, very soon! pic.twitter.com/bMJDOtAesl
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2017
Trump has already approved multiple sanctions against Venezuela and Maduro himself, which ban Americans from dealing in Venezuelan government debt or that of its state-run oil company. In July, he also placed personal sanctions on Maduro and 13 senior Venezuelan officials on grounds of human rights abuses, corruption, and undermining democracy.
The sanctions are mainly a move against Maduro’s creation of a fraudulent lawmaking body, known as the ‘national constituent assembly,’ filled exclusively with pro-government stooges. As a result, political tensions have risen in recent months, as security forces use increasingly violent methods against widespread protests rocking the nation.
A UN human rights investigation into Venezuela released last month also found an ” increasingly critical human rights situation since the protests began, with mounting levels of repression of political dissent by national security forces, and increasing stigmatization and persecution of people perceived as opposing the Government of President Maduro.”
Meanwhile, amid skyrocketing inflation, the Venezuelan monthly minimum wage has crashed to under $5 a month, leading to chronic undersupply of basic resources such as food, medicine, and sanitary products. In February 2017, the Venezuela’s Living Conditions Survey found that 75 percent of Venezuelans had lost about 8.5kg (19 lbs) in 2016, 82.8 percent of Venezuelans were living in poverty, 93 percent cannot afford food, and approximately one million Venezuelan school children do not attend school “due to hunger and a lack of public services.”
In July, Trump revealed he was also open to a military solution to the country’s crisis.
“Venezuela is a mess, it is a very dangerous mess, and a very sad situation,” Trump told reporters. “We have many options for Venezuela, I’m not ruling out military options.”