Roosevelt Room

10:57 A.M. EDT

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, thank you all for being here.  It’s my great honor to be able to welcome the First Lady of Venezuela here to the White House.  It is extraordinary to see what Fabiana and her courageous husband, Interim President Juan Guaidó, have done for freedom in Venezuela already.

Now, stepping forward, recognized by the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó is the only legitimate President of Venezuela.  And Venezuela is in crisis.  After years of dictatorship and oppression, 9 out of 10 people in Venezuela live in poverty.  Three million people in Venezuela have fled their country under the brutal regime of Nicolás Maduro.

Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power, and it is the policy of the United States of America, at the direction of President Donald Trump, that Nicolás Maduro must go.

It was our great honor, when your husband took the oath of office as the legitimate President of Venezuela, to be the first nation on Earth to recognize Juan Guaidó as the President of Venezuela.  But to see him and his courageous wife stand before the crowds and take that oath of office under the constitution of Venezuela was inspiring not just to people across our hemisphere and across this country, but all over the world.

And to see, in the days that have followed, the way the Maduro regime has brutalized the opposition, jailed the chief of staff to President Juan Guaidó — literally on the day that humanitarian aid, under President Guaidó’s leadership, was attempted to be brought into the country from Colombia, Nicolás Maduro danced in Caracas while his henchmen murdered civilians and burned medical supplies.

We call on nations all across this hemisphere to join with us to stand for freedom in Venezuela.  And we call on nations across the world that are supporting the corrupt regime of Nicolás Maduro to end that support.

The United States views Russia’s arrival of military planes this weekend as an unwelcome provocation.  We call on Russia today to cease all support of the Maduro regime and stand with Juan Guaidó, stand with nations across this hemisphere and across the world until freedom is restored.

But, to the First Lady of Venezuela, it’s my great honor to welcome you here today, to express the admiration of President Trump, the First Family, our family, and all of the American people for the courage that you have shown and that your husband has shown on behalf of freedom.

And our message, very simply, is that we’re with you, and the United States is going to continue to stand with you, stand with your courageous husband, and stand with freedom-loving people in Venezuela until your libertad is restored.

MS. ROSALES:  (As interpreted.)  I would like to thank you, Mr. Pence.  And I would like to thank the international community as well, and especially the U.S. for the enormous support they have given to the Venezuelan cause.

Today, in Venezuela, it is freedom or dictatorship; it is life or it is death.  And those who are paying the price of this hate are the children.  Children who are dying in hospitals.  Children who are dying because they have no food.

Eighty percent of the population in Venezuela has no power.  They are trying to break our morale.  They want to submerge us in eternal darkness.  But let me tell you that there is light, and the light is here.

So I have come here to say that we are going to keep — bring smiles to our children again.  We’re going to bring hope to our people again.  Because, today, with my husband, what we want to do is help those mothers in Venezuela.  We want children to go to school.  We want children to be able to graduate.  We want children to be able to play.  We want people to stay at home.  We want people to be able to die in their own country, in their own land.  It’s a question of life and death, and we want life.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  We’re with you.  Vaya con Dios.

END

11:05 A.M. EDT