Maduro Slams US After Pence Addresses Venezuelan People

VP's video message encourages protests against Maduro

On the eve of major planned opposition marches in Venezuela, US Vice President Mike Pence took the opportunity to issue a video message expressing support for the protests, condemning Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as a “dictator” with no claim to power, and backed opposition leader Juan Guiado as the “last vestige of democracy” in the country.

Unsurprisingly, this didn’t go over well with Maduro, who ordered a “total revision” of diplomatic ties with the United States and accused the Trump Administration of trying to orchestrate a coup against him.

Which is probably not an inaccurate assessment. President Trump has been encouraging the Venezuelan military to oust Maduro for months, and the State Department has in recent weeks called for Guiado to immediately remove him from power.

Pence’s comments are clearly meant to give Guiado another American endorsement. How much impact they’ll actually have within Venezuela is unclear, of course,since Pence gave his speech entirely in English, interspersing a couple of Spanish words like “hola” into it.

If anything, the continued US meddling in Venezuela is likely to give Maduro all the more excuses to crack down on the opposition, by spinning it as a mechanism for American intervention. Venezuelan governments, particularly under Maduro, have long relied on accusing the US of plots against the government. The Trump Administration seems only too willing to give them ammunition to continue those claims.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.