White House Press Release May 1, 2019
The people of Venezuela took to the streets today to demand their freedom from the violent, authoritarian, and socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro. President Donald J. Trump has been monitoring the situation minute-by-minute throughout the day.
Earlier this year, President Trump officially recognized Juan Guaido, President of Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly, as the country’s legitimate president. Speaking outside the White House today, National Security Adviser John Bolton was clear on where America stands: “The President wants to see a peaceful transfer of power from Maduro to Guaido.”
Aboard the USS Harry S. Truman, Vice President Mike Pence echoed President Trump’s words. “As we stand here today aboard this ship, the people of Venezuela are seeking to reclaim freedom and democracy in their nation—a nation impoverished by dictatorship, socialism, and oppression. And so we say to President Juan Guaido, to all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela: Estamos con ustedes—we are with you.”
The United States has imposed tough sanctions on Maduro and his henchmen. The Trump Administration has blocked more than 100 individuals, entities, and aircraft controlled by Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, depriving Maduro’s cronies from needed revenue sources while preserving critical assets for the future of Venezuela.
More than 3 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015, and the United Nations estimates that number may swell to more than 5.3 million by the end of 2019. Nine out of 10 Venezuelans now live in poverty, with thousands of children starving. Under President Trump, America continues to provide humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people, and food and medicine remain exempt from U.S. sanctions.
In January, Venezuela’s National Assembly invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate and the presidency vacant. It is time for Maduro to honor that constitution and step aside, returning the future of Venezuela to its people.