tv Conference on the Americas - Vice President Pence CSPAN May 8, 2019 6:27am-6:59am EDT
this is china's way of voluming verything and accrues to their benefit. and we have our work cut out for us and agree with what you're saying. susan: with that, congressman, engel, we have to end this session and i want to thank you for coming and thank you for your words and wish you good luck for everything you're doing because it's very important to the hem sphere and to the united states. thank you. eliot: thank you, susan, thank you. >> hello again and good afternoon, everyone. now we come to one of the highlights of the program, a keynote address by the vice president of the united states, the honorable michael pence.
through the 49 years of the washington conference, we've hosted on many occasions the highest officials of the united states government. american presidents and vice presidents have addressed this forum to highlight strategic policies for the hemisphere and point out the critical importance of america's neighbors in the region. we're honored to continue this tradition today with vice president pence. it's no secret mike pence is a proud hoosier who hails from the great state of indiana. he was elected to the u.s. congress at the age of 40 and re-elected six times to represent the people of indiana on capitol hill. during his time in congress, he served as chairman of the house republican study committee, and e house republican council
maremen. what focused was returning power to the state and local governments and reduce spending. he was announced the 50th governoff 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 turn there were nor hooters as work in the state president 200-year history. donald trump selected vice president pence as running mate in july of 2016. on january 20, 2017, he took the oath of office as the 48th vice president of the united states of america. vice president pence's home state is referred to as the crossroads of america because of its central location in the country's heartland. mr. pence, this conference in many ways sits at the
crossroads of the americas. as a convening forum that addresses the most important policies that shape our policiee 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 to 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 business life gathered here today. it is an honor to be here at the u.s. state department, at the crossroad of the americas, at 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 friend of mine, and a great friend 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] vice pres. pence: before i 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. in america, and across this hemisphere, 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. since the earliest days of this 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. under the build 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 --dership, the united states actions across the hemisphere and reinvigorated the fight against illegal drugs by helping combat drug dealers and money launderers. and, it has been my honor to travel to latin america five different times in our first 2.5
years. i have witnessed this transformation first-hand. we work to strengthen the ties that bind freedom-loving nations and peoples all across this hemisphere of freedom. in ecuador, i saw the president support for us -- support press freedom. in brazil, we laid the groundwork for greater cooperation. in 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." as the largest trading partner and source of investment in the western hemisphere, that is exactly what america has done. president trump promised a new day is coming in latin america, and so it is. socialism is dying, liberty and prosperity and democracy are being reborn right before our eyes. there has been transformation over the last two years. but as we all know, there has been extraordinary disruption as well.
today, 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. venezuela's 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] vice pres. pence: recent scenes out of caracas have been heartbreaking and deeply troubling. it is extraordinary to think about it.
last week, the world saw armored vehicles run over unarmed citizens. military forces firing tear gas at churchgoers and hundreds of people, including children -- thrown into jail because they dared to protest the man who oppresses them. the struggle in venezuela is a struggle between dictatorship and democracy. nicolas maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. nicolas maduro must go. for six long years, the people of venezuela have suffered under the heavy hand of oppression. the maduro regime's socialist policies have shrunk their economy by nearly half. it is remarkable to think that 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 malnutrition. thousands of venezuelan children are starving at this very hour. infants in hospitals across venezuela are dying for lack of basic medical care. it is extraordinary to hear of it. as my wife and i traveled through the region on several occasions and met with refugees from venezuela, to hear the stories, it broke your heart. i will never forget in brazil, a father surrounded by his three small boys looked 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
today. as the translator repeated those words to me, the little boys nodded, remembering those days. though grandmother when we were 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. the impact on families on real 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. under maduro's dictatorship, crime and lawlessness has also spread. we are told that thieves in venezuela don't rob banks because with inflation at 1,000,000% a year, money is worthless. instead they rob restaurants for food. vicious gangs have turned streets into war zones. venezuela has the highest murder rate in the world, more than 70 people are murdered every single day. but the maduro regime is not only a threat to the venezuelan people. as we gather here today, we must also recognize it is a 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 know no boundaries. drug traffickers, criminal gangs, terrorist groups seeking to profit from the misery of the venezuelan people everyday. while the regime has stood aside , millions of people have fled in desperation. it has been more than eager to accept the aid and comfort of regimes in iran and russia and cuba. the iranian regime has been working with the corrupt dictatorship 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 of an air service between caracas and tehran, controlled by the iran guard corps, which president trump recently designated a terrorist organization. one of maduro'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. today, hezbollah is working to extend its network. while iranian terrorists build safe havens, despite denials, it is clear that russia also seeks
a foothold in this hemisphere as -- in this hemisphere. in exchange for venezuelan oil, russia arranges for jet fighters and acts as a lender of last resort. last month, russia sent two military planes to caracas in a show of report for the in battle -- for the embattled regime. but no one has done more to support the corrupt maduro regime than the leaders of cuba. for more than two decades, the havana regime has sent thousands 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. as we saw last week, key 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 since 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. this is the company that nicolas maduro keeps. 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 nicolas maduro was sworn into a second term, stolen in a sham election, a national assembly, the only duly elected body in venezuela, exercised its power under the constitution and recognized a new leader, interim president juan guaido. direction,t trump's
the united states was proud to be the first nation 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-american development bank -- 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." and the oas voted to stand with the venezuelan people and guaido's government as the 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] vice pres. pence: the united states has been tough, stood strong for freedom in venezuela. as the president said, we can be a lot tougher. under the maduro regime in particular, the supreme court of venezuela has undermined its constitutional mandate to -- constitutional mandate. the supreme court was established 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 exert all diplomatic pressure, to bring about a peaceful transition to democracy in venezuela. to those who 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 humanitarian supplies on the venezuelan border, ready for immediate distribution. the american people have provided nearly $260 million in displace venezuelans -- to help displaced venezuelans and the host 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 people of venezuela. while the united states has sanctioned more than 150 government officials and state owned businesses loyal to the dictator, america has also made it clear that the sanctions may -- the sanctions need not be permanent. just as the national assembly has promised to provide amnesty to anyone who has not committed a war crime, so too the united states of america will consider sanctions relief for all those
who step forward, stand up for the constitution, and support the rule of law. like the former head of the venezuelan intelligence service who last week broke ranks with to maduro regime and rallied the support of the venezuelan constitution and 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. we believe that venezuela will one day again be free. that democracy will be restored. and once democracy is restored, the united states and the world community will not let a free venezuela fail. [applause] vice pres. pence: we will help the fledgling venezuelan democracy regain its footing. we will build a brighter future after maduro is gone, creating jobs, fighting poverty.
we are already hard at work. freedom loving countries the g-7 -- of the g-7 are working to build support for venezuelan at the imf, world bank and interdevelopment bank. together, we will get aid. venezuelan families will have aid to finance so that they can goods back on the shelf, extend lines of credit for businesses 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 in the cause of freedom in venezuela. across this hemisphere or the world. the united states today calls on 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. freedom springs from the hearts of people all over the world. 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 free, for in the words of simone bolivar, a people that loves freedom will in the end be free. so for all of the people of venezuela, on behalf of my fellow americans, we say again
estamos con ustedes, we are with you and will continue to stand with you and pray with you until your freedom is restored. until the freedom loving people in venezuela and all of the good people gathered here, the nation 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. i also believe 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. and freedom always wins. 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 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] >> the c-span bus is stopping in high schools across the country to meet winners of our studentcam competition. we were recently in sacramento, california and met with second prize will school winners. -- second prize middle school winners. be more lawss to
protecting lgbt individuals. we chose that topic. we met with many different interviewees who gave us different opinions on this matter. we got to see how there is not just one definition to being an american but how all individuals with different backgrounds make up our country. >> to watch all the winning entries from this year's contest, go to studentcam.org. a look at live coverage wednesday, at 10:00 a.m. eastern, the house meets for speeches. on the agenda, a set -- a set of bills that include expanding access to broadband internet. nancy pelosi discusses her