InterContinental New York Barclay New York, New York September 25 10:16 A.M. EDT
Thank you very much. Are you ready? Ready? Thank you very much. Thank you.
I'm honored to be here today among so many terrific leaders dedicated to the future of democracy, prosperity, and freedom for the people of Venezuela. We are behind you.
For this deeply important event, we are grateful to be joined by Secretary Mike Pompeo, Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Administrator Mark Green. Thank you all for being here. Thank you very much.
I want to extend my profound appreciation to every representative with us from across the Western Hemisphere. Each of you is part of a historic coalition of 55 countries that recognize the legitimate constitutional government of Venezuela. We are especially grateful to be joined by representatives of the people of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, for their leadership and assistance in the face of an unprecedented political, economic, and humanitarian disaster, which has been going on for a long time. And we're helping a lot. We're helping a lot.
Let me also recognize two leaders from the government of Venezuela's legitimate interim government, Presidential Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Julio Borges. Where's Julio? Julio? Please, stand up, Julio. Great. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.) And Venezuela's Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio. Where's Carlos? Thank you, Carlos. Please. (Applause.) It's very nice. Thank you.
As everyone in this room knows, the situation in Venezuela is a tragedy of historic proportions. The Maduro regime does not care about the welfare of their own people. They care about their own power. It's what they want, is power and money. They want the money, too - not just power.
Socialism has destroyed what was once among the most prosperous countries anywhere in the world. You go back 20 years ago and you look: one of the wealthiest countries in the world, relatively speaking. And now, they don't have water, they don't have food, they don't have medicine, they don't have anything.
Today, Venezuelans are starving and they're dying from lack of medicine, doctors, help. According to U.N. Human Rights Commissioner, Maduro's Cuban-trained death squads have murdered up to 10,000 Venezuelans, and they think that number is extremely low. Citizens since - all since 2018. That's over a very short period of time. These atrocities are an outrage to all and everything that we hold dear.
As President of the United States, I am committed to the future of stability, prosperity, and liberty for Venezuela. We will stand with the Venezuelan people every single day until they are finally freed from this horrible and brutal oppression. They will be freed. It will happen.
Our first objective is to ensure a peaceful and constitutional transition, paving the way for free and fair elections. That's why we, at the United States, and in the United States, are doing everything we can to isolate Maduro and his cronies.
Over the past year, the U.S. Treasury Department has imposed very tough sanctions to prevent Maduro and his enablers from accessing the U.S. financial system. Last month, I issued an executive order to completely freeze the assets of the Maduro regime in the United States. Our sanctions have been tightly focused on closing down every avenue by which Maduro sustains his criminal and totalitarian rule. And he has been vicious, he's been corrupt. He's been as bad as you get.
At the same time, we have undertaken significant efforts to ensure that the Venezuelan people have access to food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies, despite the regime's efforts to stop aid from coming into Venezuela. They are making it very, very hard to get aid into Venezuela. We are getting aid into Venezuela, but it's a very difficult thing. You would think, frankly, that would be to their benefit to let aid get in instead of letting people die from lack of medicine or food. But they don't make it easy, but we get it in anyway.
We call on Maduro to immediately allow his lifesaving humanitarian aid. This has to be allowed to come into Venezuela for the long-suffering Venezuelan people. Unfortunately, a few countries outside of this hemisphere continue to enable this depraved regime with military and technological support. The most significant factor propping up the Venezuelan regime is the communist dictatorship in Cuba. Maduro allows Cuba to plunder Venezuelans' oil, raid its wealth, and rob its people. Venezuela's oil is at a low point. Not much is being taken out. Not many people are in there because of the dangers involved. But nevertheless, there's some money coming out, and it goes into Cuba.
He's allowed thousands of Cuban agents to infiltrate Venezuela's security forces and other institutions. In other words, Maduro has sold out his nation to a foreign dictatorship, and it has been that way a long time.
The civilized world must pressure the Cuban regime to leave Venezuela immediately. The United States is ready to support a democratic transition government, and we know that our partners around the world - of which we have many - are ready as well. Venezuela's rebuilding can begin the moment a peaceful transition occurs.
This is a critical moment for the world. We must not allow the destructive forces of socialism and communism to repeat the horrors of the last century. Can't allow it to happen. There have been horrors like nobody would believe. We can't allow this to happen today in Venezuela. We resolve that the future of the Western Hemisphere will not be written by socialists and tyrants, but by liberty-loving patriots. Our great destiny is to become the first fully free hemisphere in human history. We have a very, very good chance of doing that.
We work and we pray for the hour when every person across the region, and every suffering soul in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, will finally know the blessings of democracy and the full glory of freedom.
Once again, thank you all to so many of my friends in this room and to the nations that have helped us with respect to Venezuela and many other things.
I want to personally thank the President of Mexico for the incredible work and spirit and everything that they've done on our southern border. Our southern border has become secure, with 27,000 Mexican soldiers on the Mexican side, telling people, "Sorry, you can't come in." So I want to thank the President of Mexico. Thank you very much.
And for Venezuela: It will all work. It will all come back. And good things will happen.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much.
Mr. President, on the transcript, sir? On the transcript, sir?
Okay. You know what? Because you're so anxious, we're going to let you stay as certain presidents speak. Because I know that's what you want to hear.
Thank you, Mr. President. Let me do the introductions. First of all, Mr. President, let me say how proud I am to be part of everything that you have led in this effort to try and bring the Venezuelan crisis to a peaceful and democratic resolution. Your leadership has been outstanding.
The work of the Lima Group, too, has been important. I believe it's a sign of a new era in Latin America. And like your nations, the United States is tired of the heartbreaking stories of Venezuelans forced to dig through trash cans for food, of the hospital patients dying unnecessarily, of the millions of innocent children who go to bed hungry every night because 94 percent of Venezuelan households can't get their basic necessities.
Read the full transcript HERE
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