Good morning. On behalf of President Trump and the American people I
first want to thank
Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas of the Dominican
Republic, the current president of the Security Council, for scheduling
this meeting. My former colleague,
Ambassador Haley, lobbied for a year
to get the council to address Venezuela but her pleas fell on deaf ears.
This meeting is long overdue. And you all know why it’s overdue.
Take Carlos Aquino, a 37-year-old construction worker, weeping over the
tiny coffin of his deceased infant son who had died of starvation.
Such scenes of misery are now the norm in
Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela
where millions of children are suffering from malnutrition and
starvation thanks to a socialist experiment that caused the economy to
collapse. This human misery isn’t a secret. Stories like this one are
well documented by our press corps. You can read about men like Carlos
every day. People like him are why the United States has called this
We’re here because Maduro has reduced ordinary Venezuelans who once
lived in prosperity to rooting through dumpsters to find something to
We’re here because scores of Venezuelan women, some of them teenagers,
have fled Maduro’s madness to other countries, and in desperation turned
to prostitution to survive.
We’re here because of Maria Vielma, a school psychologist who said
through tears, "We have a government that is dedicated to destroying,
not to constructing."
Another man, a farmer named Vladimir Sequera, who never got more than a
sixth grade education but he hoped that his stepdaughter Gabriela could
fulfill her dreams of being a lawyer -- she now says, "Our whole future
has been taken away." That future, for her and all Venezuelans, didn’t
magically disappear on its own. The Maduro regime’s failed policies,
oppression, and corruption stole that future.
The United States is helping to recover a brighter future for Venezuela.
We’re here to urge all nations to support the democratic aspirations of
the Venezuelan people as they try to free themselves from former
President Maduro’s illegitimate mafia state.
The humanitarian situation demands action now; it demands action today.
Today nine out of ten citizens live in poverty. Millions lack access to
drinking water and food. Three out of four hospitals have been
abandoned. Three million Venezuelans have been forced to flee their
homeland thereby flooding the region and threatening international peace
and security. Maduro’s prisons are full of political prisoners unjustly
behind bars and the graveyards hold dissidents and protesters that have
been killed by this regime.
I want to talk to you about just one of them, a member of the city
council of Caracas named Fernando Alban. Just four months ago he came
here to this city to meet with the world’s representatives who gather
here every year during the United Nations General Assembly. He came here
to speak about the failures of the Maduro regime and about his hopes for
a more democratic and a more prosperous future for his country.
After that he went home. He went home to the country that he loved.
Maduro’s secret police arrested him at the airport as soon as he landed.
He died in their custody three days later and the pathetic explanations
for this death have convinced absolutely no one.
The time is now to support the Venezuelan people, to recognize the new
democratic government led by interim President
[Juan] Guaido, and end this
nightmare. No excuses.
The United States stands with the Venezuelan people. So far, many other
nations have chosen to do the same and they too have recognized the
legitimate government of interim President Guaido. The United States
stands proudly with you as we stand together in support of Venezuela.
You knew the Venezuelan people did not have a moment to spare.
And now it’s time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays,
no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom or you’re in
league with Maduro and his mayhem.
Some countries have publicly taken former President Maduro’s side.
China, Russia, Syria, and Iran are just four of them. Just this morning
we tried to find a way for this council to speak in one voice in support
of the Venezuelan people and the democratic ideals through a
presidential statement on this council, but our Russian and Chinese
colleagues refused to let this move forward. It’s not a surprise that
those who rule without democracy in their own countries are trying to
prop up Maduro while he is in dire straits.
Nor are these countries supporting international norms as they cynically
claim. China and Russia are propping up a failed regime in hopes of
recovering billions of dollars in ill-considered investments and
assistance made over the years. This money was never intended to help
the Venezuelan people, it lined the pockets of the Maduro regime, its
cronies, and its benefactors.
But no regime has done more to sustain the nightmarish condition of the
Venezuelan people than the regime in Havana. For years, Cuban security
and intelligence thugs, invited into Venezuela by Maduro himself and
those around him, have sustained this illegitimate rule. They have
trained Maduro’s security and intelligence henchmen in Cuba’s own worst
practices. Cuba’s interior ministry even provides a former -- provides
former President Maduro’s personal security.
Members of this body often
use their microphones here to condemn foreign interference in internal
affairs. Let’s be crystal clear: the foreign power meddling in Venezuela
today is Cuba. Cuba has directly made matters worse and the United
States and our partners are the true friends of the Venezuelan people.
On Wednesday, the Venezuelan people chose to take their country back on
the anniversary of the day the dictator
Marcos Jimenez Perez was forced
out of power back in 1958.
We call for Venezuelans to work now together to peacefully restore the
constitutional government and return the country to a secure,
democratic, and prosperous path. As we read reports of peaceful
Venezuelan protesters killed or wounded, we also repeat our insistence
that Venezuela’s security services show restraint.
And I want to be 100 percent clear: President Trump and I fully expect
that our diplomats will continue to receive protections
the Vienna Convention. Do not test the United States on our resolve to
protect our own people.
We hope that the international community will support the people of
Venezuela and the transitional government led by
|Juan Guaido's formal public declaration
of Venezuelan Interim Presidency,
Plaza Bolívar de Chacao, Caracas (screenshot)
Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela1,
Venezuela’s own Constitution.
He made this declaration
with the full support of the
National Assembly and of the Venezuelan
Our nations must stand up for the rule of law and support the
leader who the Venezuelan people have affirmed as their legitimate
interim president. It is our hope that free and fair elections happen as
soon as possible.
Back in 1961,
President Kennedy spoke in Caracas. He declared, "We will
be partners in building a better life for our people."3
America’s ambition has not changed since that day. We stand with the
Venezuelan people as they seek to build a better life for themselves and
we cannot ignore the suffering or tyranny taking place in this proud
nation. Neither should other countries who care about freedom and
Today we call on all members of the Security Council to support
Venezuela’s democratic transition and interim President Guaido’s role in