USA: Pence says ‘Maduro must go’ as hospital ship sent to aid displaced VenezuelansJune 19, 2019 at 00:59 (GMT) · Published
US Vice President Mike Pence said that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro "must go" while speaking at a cruise liner terminal in Miami, a day before the USNS Comfort hospital ship is due to depart on a five-month assistance mission to Latin America, reportedly to assist countries struggling with an influx of migrants from Venezuela.
"The policies of Nicolas Maduro and his socialist regime have shrunk Venezuela's economy by nearly half. In what was once one of the wealthiest countries in our hemisphere, now 9 out of 10 people live in poverty. The average Venezuelan has lost more than 20 pounds through deprivation and malnutrition. Thousands of Venezuelan children are starving, and many are dying for lack of basic medical care," Pence said, adding "Nicolas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. And Nicolas Maduro must go."
Pence explained that the USNS Comfort would make 14 stops in 13 countries, and that he and his wife "marveled at its facilities" after taking a tour of the ship, which he said contains dozens of X-ray machines, a CAT scan unit, and a pharmacy unit.
"To all the people - to all the people of Venezuela and all who call Venezuela home, know this: Under President Donald Trump we will continue to stand strong until freedom and democracy and the rule of law are restored," Pence concluded.
According to the United Nations, over four million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015 due to the severe economic crisis in the oil-rich country.