Yesterday the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, accompanied by his wife Karen Pence, met with a group of 30 Venezuelans in Cartagena who fled their country due to the ongoing economic and social crisis. The couple prayed together with the group, then listened as the Venezuelans recounted their experiences.
Pence said that he was moved to tears by the stories of hardship, especially those about food scarcity in the socialist country.
“A failed state such as Venezuela’s threatens the safety and prosperity in the entire hemisphere”, he said during a joint press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. “We won’t keep quiet while Venezuela moves towards a dictatorship”.
In Colombia Karen & I met w/ Venezuelan families who fled the tyranny & oppression of Maduro. The Venezuelan people deserve freedom #VPinSA pic.twitter.com/1lR4xDLony
— Vice President Mike Pence Archived (@VP45) August 15, 2017
Pence is seeking allies in Latin America, as the United States tries to build consensus against Nicolas Maduro’s decision to install a Constituent Assembly and rewrite Venezuela’s constitution. Santos has called the process the “end of democracy” in Venezuela and has been an outspoken critic of the country’s socialist leadership.
Pence took questions from the press during the news conference, and reiterated that U.S. President Donald Trump has not discounted the possibility of using military force against Venezuela. While many Venezuelans have welcomed the harsh rhetoric used by Trump, most Latin American countries cautioned against military intervention, preferring diplomatic and political pressure to resolve the crisis.
Soy mas venezolana que una arepa. Amo a Venezuela y la quiero libre , soberana ,Por eso apoyo una Asistencia Militar de EUA para rescatarla.
— Laura De Moreno (@LauraDeMoreno13) August 15, 2017
Venezuela’s government has attempted to use Trump’s threat of force to rally the country around embattled President Nicolas Maduro and his constituent assembly. The Venezuelan Minister of Information, Ernesto Villegas, took to social media platform Twitter to express his thoughts.
“Our narco neighbor and their narco client threaten Venezuela while forging their narco alliance”, tweeted Ernesto Villegas, a member of Maduro’s cabinet. He was referring to reports of Colombia’s record amount of cocaine production in 2016.
Nuestro narco-vecino y su narco-cliente amenazan a Venezuela mientras se dispara su narco-negocio https://t.co/0z7bZIhdRZ #TrumpGoHome pic.twitter.com/OGJ3ZeAfUP
— Ernesto Villegas Poljak (@VillegasPoljak) August 14, 2017
Pence landed in Argentina today, then will travel on to Chile and Panama later this week.