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.

Just Posted

Mountain biker admitted to hospital after being sent home

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Maple Ridge secondary students discover the art of children’s lit

Twenty students will be reading their books to Laity View elementary students

Maple Ridge’s public works manager stepping down

Frank Quinn retires in May, saw city’s population double

Maple Ridge public hearing blasts housing plan near river

People spoke for three hours against 26 homes

Pitt council pay increases partly in reaction to federal tax changes

Total cost of implementing the recommendations is an increase of $90,110 for council remuneration.

Paddling and pancakes, cleaning Katzie Slough shore

The fourth biannual canoe tour of the Katzie Slough took place on Sunday

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Langley MP describes most recent diagnosis as a ‘miracle’

Tory Member of Parliament Mark Warawa doesn’t have pancreatic cancer, but operable colon cancer

Man driving wrong way on Highway 17 ‘seriously’ injured after crash: Surrey RCMP

Police say the driver hit a transport truck, then another car after merging from the off-ramp onto highway

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Most Read