VP Pence Calls On Venezuela To Suspend Sham Election

The Trump administration continues its sustained pressure on the Maduro regime in Venezuela, this time via Vice President Mike Pence, who called Monday for a suspension of the May 20 Venezuelan presidential election because he said the results would likely be fraudulent.

Speaking at the Organization of American States, Pence acknowledged the damage Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has done to the country since his election six years ago, saying his promises to restore prosperity and greatness have led only to increased suffering and poverty.

“The so-called elections in Venezuela scheduled for May 20 will be nothing more than a fraud and a sham,” Pence said. “There will be no real election in Venezuela on May 20 and the world knows it.”

The election, typically held in December but moved to the Spring — which detractors say is intended to take advantage of political divisions plaguing opposition candidates, who also allege threats and intimidation against them by the Maduro regime — are scheduled for the end of the month. The results could lead to another six-year term for Maduro, who has overseen a country that has slid rapidly into starvation and poverty, and is facing an exodus of citizens to neighboring countries.

Pence’s comments come on the heels of new sanctions against the regime, which include targeting Pedro Luis Martin Olivares, a former intelligence official currently under indictment in Florida for drug trafficking; and 20 companies the Treasury Department has determined have connections to Olivares and two other Venezuelans targeted in the sanctions.

The European Union joins the U.S. in calling for a suspension of the election, and the latter is still considering a ban on imports of Venezuelan oil. Venezuela is the third-largest source of foreign oil imported in the U.S.

Pence noted that the U.S. will not stand idly by as Maduro destroys Venezuela’s democracy, and called on “all freedom-loving” people to stand up to his regime.

“Today, we call on the Organization of American State members to suspend Venezuela from the Organization of American States,” the vice president said. “This is an institution dedicated to democracy. A stable and peaceful Venezuela is in the best interest of the entire Hemisphere. The Venezuelan people deserve democracy.”

Embedded clips of the speech are below.