tv Conference on the Americas - Vice President Pence CSPAN May 7, 2019 8:49pm-9:19pm EDT
on c-span. announcer: earlier today, the thee department hosted annual conference on the americas with government officials and foreign diplomats. the event concluded remarks from vice president pence who talked about the situation in bin is leila. -- in venezuela. [applause] >> hello again, and good afternoon, everyone. now we come to one of the highlights of the program. the address by the vice president of the united states, the honorable michael pence. throughout the 49 years at the washington conference, we have posted on many occasions the highest officials of the united states government. american presidents and vice presidents have addressed this forum to highlight strategic policies or the hemisphere and to underscore the critical
or the hemisphere and to underscore the critical importance of america's relations with its neighbors in the region. we are to continue this tradition today with by president pence -- with vice president pence. it is no secret he is a proud closure who hailed -- hoosier who hailed from the great state of indiana. he was elected into congress at the age of 40 and was reelected six times to represent the people of indiana on capitol hill. congress, heme in served as chair man of the house republican study committee and the house republican conference chairman. focused on reducing federal spending and returning power to the state and local governments. 50th13, he was elected the governor of indiana. as governor, he oversaw the largest income tax cut in indiana's history. during his four years in office, the state's unemployment rate fell by half.
when he ended his term, there hoosiers hosiers -- that work in the state -- at work in the state's history. on january 20, 2017, he took the oath of office as the 40th vice president of the united states of america. homepresident pence's state is referred to as the crossroads of america because of its central location in the country's heartland. nce, this conference and many ways sits at the crossroads of the americans as a convening forum that addresses the most important policies that shape our hemisphere. as the theme of this year's congress suggests, the americas are undergoing historic moments of disruption and transformation. mr. vice president, we are delighted that you are here with us today. ladies and gentlemen, it is my
honor to welcome the 49th washington conference on the americas, the vice president of the united states of america, michael pence. [applause] vice pres. pence: thank you, all, thank you very much. thank you chairman, for that wonderful introduction. president-elect kelly, vice president ramirez, all the leaders in public and gathered here today. it is an honor to be here at the u.s. state department, at the crossroad of the americas, the 49th annual washington
conference of the americas. thank you all for being here. [applause] vice pres. pence: as i begin, let me bring greetings from a friendof mine, a great of all of those who cherish freedom across this hemisphere of freedom. i bring greetings from the 45th president of the united states of america, president donald trump. [applause] before i. pence: begin, let me reflect on some welcome news. last fall, we made clear to burma that the jailing of two journalists was deeply troubling to millions of americans and we urged their release. today, we learned those two reuters journalists were released after spending more than 500 days in prison where they have been jailed simply for doing their job, reporting atrocities.
america, and across this hemisphere, and we believe -- we believe in democratic ideals and the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. we welcome the release of these two journalists, and we hope their release signals a positive and permanent respect for a free and independent press. what brings us here today is to discuss the theme of this conference, the disruption and transformation in the americas. it is unquestionable that over the last two years, there has been profound transformation across latin america. days of thisliest administration, president trump has worked with our partners in the region to build a safer, stronger, more prosperous western hemisphere. the results speak for themselves. act, we pledged up to $60 billion in development financing to help our partners build infrastructure they need
to grow. we have expanded access to affordable american-made energy through our america's initiative. we have promoted freer, fair and reciprocal trade forging a new trade deal like the u.s. mexico canada agreement. we have also strengthened our security ties. under the president's leadership, the u.s. has conjoined actions across sms year and reinvigorated the fight against illegal drugs by helping against drug dealers and money launderers. and has been my honor to travel to latin america five different times in our first 2.5 years. i have witnessed this transformation firsthand. we work to strengthen the ties that bind freedom loving nations and peoples all across this hemisphere of freedom. connect with her, i saw the -- in ecuador, i saw the president supports free
press. brazil, we laid the groundwork for greater cooperation. peru, i was honored to represent the u.s. at a historic conference where 35 nations pledged to fight against corruption in their governments and renew our commitment to freedom. since my very first visit to latin america two years ago, the people of the western hemisphere have voted in election after election for prosperity, security, transparency, and the rule of law in their governments. the u.s. has stood with them every step of the way. america will always stand with our neighbors when they stand for freedom. [applause] vice pres. pence: as president trump said in his first address to the united nations, in his
words, nations of the world must take a greater role in promoting secure and prosperous societies in their own regions. the largest trading partner and source of investment in the western hemisphere, that is exactly what america has done. he promised a new day is coming in latin america, and so it is. , liberty anddying prosperity and democracy are being reborn right before our eyes. there has been transformation over the last two years. all know, there has been extraordinary disruption as well. the single greatest source of disruption, the single greatest disrupter of peace and prosperity in the western hemisphere has come from the regime of nicolas maduro in venezuela. and from their desperate attempts to cling to power. neighbors know
better than anyone how hard it is to bring liberty to a land that has long lived under dictatorship. today, the united states of america reaffirms our commitment to the venezuelan people and to our partners in the region. we will continue to stand with the people of venezuela until libertad is restored. [applause] in recent pence: scenes out of caracas, venezuela, they have been heartbreaking and deeply troubling. it is extraordinary to think about it. armoredk, the world saw vehicles run over unarmed citizens. tear gasforces firing at churchgoers and hundreds of people including children. thrown into jail because they dared to protest the man who oppresses them. is atruggle in venezuela
struggle between dictatorship and democracy. nicolas maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. nicolas maduro moscow. -- must go. for six long years, the people of venezuela have suffered under the heavy hand of oppression. the maduro regime socialist policies have shrunk their economy by nearly half. that remarkable to think what was once one of the wealthiest countries in our hemisphere, that nine out of 10 people live in poverty. the average venezuelan has lost more than 20 pounds through deprivation and mental attrition. -- and malnutrition. thousands of venezuelan children are starving at this very hour. infants in hospital across venezuela are dying for lack of basic medical care. it is extraordinary to hear of it.
travelede and i through thethrough the region ol occasions and met with refugees from venezuela, to hear the story just broke your heart. i will never forget in brazil, a father surrounded by his three boys looked-- small me in the eye and said he he decided to flee venezuela because it was so hard to come home and look at his boys and say, we are not eating tonight. those translator repeated words to me, the little boys nodded, remembering those days. a grandmother in columbia at a little church that had taken in thousands of venezuelans told me
that she finally fled venezuela because her grandchildren were required to get up at 4:00 in the morning to go and claim a paper ticket so that they could stand in line at 4:00 in the afternoon and turn the ticket in in exchange for a single piece of bread. she said she'd had enough, gathered up her four grandchildren and made the long journey west to the colombian border. on realct on families lives, some 3 million people who have fled the country, one million more by the end of the year projected, are stories the world needs to hear. 'sder majuro -- maduro dictatorship, crime and lawlessness has also spread. we are told that these in venezuela don't rob banks
because with inflation what it is, money is worthless. instead they rob restaurants for food. turned gangs have streets into war zones. venezuela has the highest murder rate in the world, more than 70 people murdered everything will day -- every single day. but the maduro regime is not only a threat to the venezuelan people. it is aalso recognize threat to the peace and security of our region as well. the rising desperation in venezuela has fueled a mass exodus the likes of which we have literally never seen in the western hemisphere. as i said, more than 3 million venezuelans have abandoned their beloved country, and it is estimated that millions more will follow in the days ahead. venezuela is a failed state.
history teaches failed states no no boundaries -- know no boundaries. terrorist groups seeking to profit from the misery of the visitors wailing -- the venezuelan people everyday. has stood aside well people flee, but has accepted the aid and comfort of regimes in iran and russia and cuba. venezuela has been working to establish safe havens for terrorist proxies and continues to do so as we gather here. last month, a high-level delegation from iran's foreign ministry celebrated a launch between an air service -- a launch of an air service between iran and venezuela, controlled by the iran guard corps, which
president trump recently designated a terrorist organization. 's top aides and currently the interior minister is a drug runner and money launderer, partners with terrorist networks to bring terrorists into the country. bollah iss law -- hez working to extend its network. buildiranian terrorists safe havens, despite denials, it is clear that russia also seeks a foothold in this hemisphere in that as well. -- hemisphere as well. exchange for venezuelan oil, russia arranges for jet fighters and works as a lender of last resort. last month, russia sent two military planes to caracas in a
show of report for the in battle regime. but no one has done more to support the correct maduro regime than the leaders of cuba. for more than two decades, the havana regime has sent dozens of teachers and engineers to venezuela to prop up the feeling regime. cuban agents control the levers of power in many government agencies, especially the military and intelligence services. , key saw last week decisions about venezuela's future are as much made in havana as caracas. venezuela is not merely a cuban client. the people of venezuela are essentially cuba's hostage. cuba has robbed venezuela of more than her freedom, it has stripped her of her wealth.
some estimates claim cuba have extracted more than $35 billion in venezuelan oil and's 2005. in short, the struggling people of venezuela are not just victims of one dictatorship, the people of venezuela are the victims of two dictatorships feared -- dictatorships. the americas will never fully realize our potential as a hemisphere of freedom until venezuela is able to cast off cuba's control and once again take its rightful place as a free and independent nation. [applause] vice pres. pence: but for all of the suffering across cities large and small, it is inspiring to see the venezuelan people rising up.
as president trump said not long ago, the fight for freedom in venezuela has just begun. four short months ago, after acolas maduro was sworn into second term, stolen in a sham election, a nationalist sibley, the only duly elected body in venezuela, exercised its power of the constitution and recognize a new leader, interim president juan guaido. president struck direction, the united states was proud to be the first nation on earth to recognize interim president juan guaido as the legitimate president of venezuela, and now more than 50 nations around the world have joined us. all across this western hemisphere, nations have been standing up to declare their support for president guaido. two months ago, the inter-development bank voted to
-- last month, the g-7 foreign ministers issued a statement saying that the may 2018 presidential election lacked legitimacy and called on the maduro regime to "restore the authority of the national assembly." voted to stand with the venezuelan people and recognize guaido's government is only true representative of venezuela. as we gather here today, president guaido's meeting with members of the national assembly, some of whom have come under harassment by the national guard and intelligence service. let me take this opportunity to be very clear. the safety and security of president juan guaido and his family are a priority for the united states of america. [applause]
the unitedpence: has been tough, stood strong for freedom in venezuela. as the president said, we can be tougher. regime inmaduro particular, the supreme court of venezuela has undermined -- undermined its constitutional mandate to protect rights and the rule of law. sadly, of late it has become a political tool for a regime that promotes authoritarianism. it is time for the supreme court in venezuela to return to its founding purpose. if the supreme court of venezuela does not return to its constitutional mandate to uphold the rule of law, the united
states of america will hold all 25 of its magistrates accountable for their actions. i came today to be very clear, the united states of america will continue to assert all pressure, to bring about a peaceful transition to democracy in venezuela. for those that continue to oppress the good people of venezuela, know this -- all options are on the table. nations across the world have spoken with a clear voice. the time has come for freedom loving nations also to begin to prepare. prepare for a brighter future for the people of venezuela after maduro is gone. under president trump's leadership, i'm proud to say the united states has been standing with the people of venezuela,
and we have been committed to helping families and communities that have been devastated by the dictatorship and oppression of the maduro regime. we have positioned more than 500 metric tons of food and supplies on the venezuelan border, ready for immediate distribution. the american people have provided nearly $260 -- $260 million in aid to help this hostd venezuelans and the nations that support them. today, i am announcing that under president trump's direction, the u.s. navy will deploy the u.s. comfort to the caribbean and south america this june. [applause] vice pres. pence: the comfort will embark on a five-month humanitarian mission to address the venezuelan crisis. united states military and medical personnel working with
counterparts in the region will be there to provide medical assistance to communities in need and help relieve countries overwhelmed by the influx of the suffering of the people of venezuela. while the united states has section more than 150 government officials and state owned businesses loyal to the dictator , america has also made it clear that the sanctions may not be permanent. just as the national assembly has promised to provide amnesty to anyone who has not committed the united, so too states of america will consider sanctions relief for all those who step forward, stand up for the constitution, and support the rule of law. general manual for guerra -- like the former head of the service, he rallied
with the national assembly. in recognition of his recent actions in support of democracy and the rule of law, i am announcing today that the united states of america is removing all sanctions on the general effective immediately. as president guaido builds a brighter future for venezuela, we hope the action that our nation is taking today will encourage others to follow the example of the general. and members of the military who have also stepped forward and taken a stand for the constitution and libertad. willlieve that venezuela
one day again be free. that democracy will be restored. restored,emocracy is the united states and the world community will not let a free venezuela fell -- fail. [applause] we will helpnce: the fledgling venezuelan democracy regain its footing. we will build a brighter future after maduro is gone, creating jobs, fine pottery -- fighting poverty. we're already at work. the g-7 is working to build support for venezuelan at the imf, world bank and interdevelopment bank. together we will get aid. venezuelan failings -- families will have eight to finance so get good specget
on the shelf, extend lines of credit for businesses and help the and is willing government meet basic needs -- and help the venezuelan government meet basic needs. once democracy is restored, venezuela's future will be bright. let me be clear, there can be no bystanders. -- no bystanders in the cause of freedom in venezuela. across this hemisphere or the world. today calls ones all nations of the western hemisphere to stand with the venezuelan people as they rise up to restore freedom, democracy, and libertad to their nation. springs from the hearts of people all over the world. but as history records, it has always sprung in particular from the hearts of people here in the
new world. i believe with all my heart that freedom will continue to ring, not only across this land, but across this hemisphere, across this hemisphere of freedom. and venezuela will one day be simoneor in the words of lovesr, a people that freedom will in the end be free. for all of the people of venezuela, on behalf of my again americans, we say [speaking spanish], we are with you and will continue to stand with you and pray with you until your freedom is restored. peoplehe freedom loving
in venezuela and all of the good people gathered here, the ,ation's standing with them just know as you stand and as you march and you go, you do not go alone. we are all with you. freedom loving people across this hemisphere are with you. that the author of freedom is with you as well. for where the spirit of the lord is there is freedom. that means when we labor for freedom, we make his work on this earth our own. wins.eedom always with faith in that great promise, gratitude to all who have joined us across this
hemisphere of freedom and this great cause, and faith in the courage and strength of the venezuelan people and the generosity and ideals of the american people and all of our allies, i believe with all my heart the day is coming soon when venezuela will one day be free. we will see a new birth of freedom. -- of freedom in this nation in our hemisphere, and venezuela will be a nation reborn to libertad, so help us god. thank you very much. god bless you all and god bless the united states of america. [applause]