U.S. leaders denounced the Maduro presidency as illegitimate as the dictator began his second term in Venezuela. Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton weighed in on Twitter.
Dictator Maduro’s inauguration is a sham. The US does not recognize the illegitimate result of a stolen election. We’ll continue to stand w/ the people of Venezuela & against Maduro’s corrupt regime until freedom & democracy prevail in Venezuela! #Libertad https://t.co/Pa1zUnu5eq
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 10, 2019
While condemning the authoritarian leader’s illegitimacy, Pompeo and Bolton also expressed U.S. support for Venezuela’s National Assembly.
The National Assembly carries the flame of democracy on behalf of #Venezuela through these dark days of the #Maduro dictatorship. We applaud its efforts to recover stolen funds for the Venezuelan people. Thank you for your leadership, @jguaido.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 10, 2019
The US will not recognize the Maduro dictatorship’s illegitimate inauguration. We will continue to increase pressure on the corrupt regime, support the democratic National Assembly, and call for democracy and freedom in Venezuela.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 10, 2019
Last year U.S. leaders including Vice President Pence blasted the Maduro regime and decried the election as illegitimate.
During a speech in 2018 Bolton identified Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua, as the “Troika of tyranny,” leveling scathing criticism against the trio.
“This troika of tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western hemisphere,” Bolton declared.
In a Fox News interview in 2018, then-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley described the dire circumstances she witnessed as she watched people cross the Venezuelan border into Columbia in order to obtain food.
“I was on the Venezuelan border about a month ago and I saw, literally, a million people cross that border every day for their only meal,” Haley noted, saying that there were “people bringing their last possessions to sell in Columbia just to buy food. And this is all because of failed socialism that led to corruption, a dictatorship and poverty.”
President Trump himself described the desperate situation in Venezuela and emphasized the deplorability of socialism during a 2018 UN speech:
More than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the socialist Maduro regime and its Cuban sponsors. Not long ago Venezuela was one of the richest countries on earth. Today socialism has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty. Virtually everywhere socialism or communism has been tried it has produced suffering, corruption and decay. Socialism’s thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion and oppression. All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery that it brings to everyone. In that spirit, we ask the nations gathered here to join us in calling for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.