Pence travels to Columbia to talk Maduro ouster

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On Monday, Vice President Michael Pence travels to Bogotá to discuss strategies with several Latin American countries regarding the removal of Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro.

Pence plans to meet with the president of Columbia, Iván Duque Márquez, along with, Juan Guáido, the rising leader against the Maduro Administration who self-appointed himself as interim president in January. Added to the meetings are members of the Lima Group, a bloc of South American countries that formed in 2017 to address the growing crisis in Venezuela. Pence also plans to meet with Venezuelan refugees who fled to Columbia.

Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said statement: “The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy, and freedom has the momentum. Juan Guáido is the only legitimate leader of Venezuela, and it’s time for Nicolas Maduro to go. The United States is proud to join the Lima Group and other global partners to marshal our resources, provide much needed humanitarian relief, and stand together with the people of Venezuela until democracy and freedom are fully restored.”

Last month, Guáido denounced the legitimacy of Maduro’s May 2018 presidential win due to a number of election irregularities. As a recourse, he said that he would serve as interim president until the country is able to hold fair elections.

Shortly after, US President Donald Trump acknowledged Maduro’s opponent “as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people … the … people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law.”

Juan Guaido swears himself in as interim president of Venezuela. Photo credit: Regulo Gomez

Following, the European Union, along with Canada and dozens of other countries pledged their support to Guáido. However, Mexico, a member of the Lima Group remains neutral. They prefer that a democratic country engages in a peaceful solution. United Nations Ambassador Juan Ramon de la Fuente Ramirez said that he wants to see measures between Guádio and Maduro that is “going to lead to dialogue.”

The United Nations still recognizes Maduro as president.

Maduro says that the US is orchestrating a coup d’etat so that they can put in a regime that will be complicit to the West.

In a sit-down interview with BBC, Maduro remarks:

Trying to impose on Venezuela a government that nobody has elected, a government that declared itself in a public square, absolutely unconstitutional and irregular. Where does it come from? From the White House. Who conducts it? Donald Trump. The extremists of the White House have taken it upon themselves to carry out a coup in Venezuela. And we have rejected it and the entire world has rejected it. Now a Western campaign continues in a rushed way, I would say in an evil way. Donald Trump’s politics continue. I would tell the world – Europe, London, the United Kingdom – ask yourselves, if you are not being led to a road with no exit, to failure, as you are letting Donald Trump lead you to a completely extremist illegal politics that violates the United Nations charter. And it has no support in Venezuela.

Cuba, Bolivia, Russia and Turkey back the Maduro Administration.  Reports in Daily Finland say that Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel expressed his ongoing support for Maduro while Boliva’s President, Evo Morales cautioned that intervention “will only bring war.

“Our deep respect to the people of #Venezuela.” Morales tweeted. He continued, “By rejecting military intervention, he defended peace and there can be no peace without social justice, without respect for dignity, identity and freedom.”

In his Twitter feed, Maduro reposted video footage of demonstrators in support of his presidency.

The US has placed sanctions and blockades against the oil-rich country that was at one time, the wealthiest Latin American nation during its petro-boom. Now, the US attempts to deliver aid which has been repeatedly rejected by Maduro.


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