Pence says Venezuelan president ‘must go’

Mike Pence made the comments on Friday during a visit to Texas

Vice-President Mike Pence said Friday during a visit to Texas that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro “must go” because of the “suffering he has brought” to the people of that country.

“The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy, but freedom has the momentum. Nicolas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power, and Nicolas Maduro must go,” Pence said at the Baker Institute at Rice University in Houston, named for former Secretary of State James Baker.

Houston is home to a large Venezuelan immigrant community, as well as the corporate headquarters of CITGO, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run oil giant PDVSA. Pence earlier this week called for the release of six CITGO executives who’ve been jailed in Venezuela for more than a year without trial. Pence has said the five American citizens and one legal permanent U.S. resident , all with roots in Texas and Louisiana, are being “illegally detained.” Pence said some of their relatives were at his speech Friday in Houston.

READ MORE: Soldiers unleash tear gas amid tension on Venezuela’s border

The U.S. and about 50 other countries contend Maduro’s election last year was illegitimate and that support opposition leader Juan Guaido’s claim to the presidency.

Pence Friday said that “for far too long the people of Venezuela have suffered under the heavy hand of oppression.” He noted there’s been a mass exodus from the country, with more than 3 million abandoning it so far. He said that “for those who stay behind, it is a society of lawlessness, corruption, crime and violence.”

The U.S. on Friday added two oil-sector companies and 34 vessels to a sanctions list aimed at forcing Maduro to step down. A Treasury Department announcement said the companies and vessels are being used to ship fuel to Cuba or in other aspects of the oil industry and help support the Maduro government.

Pence said the only way Maduro “clings to power” is with the help of Cuba.

“All options are on the table,” Pence said. “We will not stand idly by while the Venezuelan people suffer under dictatorship and oppression. And Nicolas Maduro would do well not to test the resolve of the United States of America.”

READ MORE: Former Brazilian President arrested on corruption charges

Earlier Pence made a stop in Houston to thank U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for their service. He’s set later Friday to head to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Center in College Station where he’ll participate in a discussion on the American vice presidency with former vice-presidents Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woman comes home to ‘entirely different’ Victoria after cruise ship, military base quarantine

Melanie Sibbitt booked herself a last-minute vacation on a cruise ship hit by COVID-19

Wheelchair user asks people to leave space on sidewalks to socially distance

Wendy Cox says many people are not stepping off the sidewalk to allow her space

COVID-19: Victoria moves homeless into 35 hotel rooms across the city

Mayor pleads with residents to stay inside during pandemic

Victoria brewery uses 3D-printer to make face shields for health care workers

Phillips Brewing is teaming up with engineers to create single-use medical equipment

Victoria street nurse thanks public for outpouring of donations

Businesses and individuals donated gloves, masks, sanitizers and more to frontline workers

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Most Read