Pence told backers of opposition leader Juan Guaidó that, "as you stand for freedom, you go with the grace of the author of freedom."
UNITED NATIONS — The U.S. asked countries on Monday to do more to help dislodge Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, including freezing assets of Venezuela’s state oil company and denying visas to members of Maduro’s “inner circle.”
That call came days after Maduro blocked American aid deliveries into the country, an act that opposition leaders — including self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó — hope paints Maduro as insensitive to the plight of his people.
Addressing regional leaders in Bogotá, Colombia, Vice President Mike Pence said he remained confident Venezuela was continuing its “journey from tyranny to freedom, but he said Guaidó needs as much help as he can get.
“We urge you to transfer ownership of Venezuelan assets in your country from Maduro’s henchmen to President Guaidó’s government, and to do so immediately.”
The U.S. sanctioned Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA in January and ordered that the firm’s profits — including those of its American subsidiary CITGO — be held in reserve until the money could be transferred to Guaidó and his appointed officials.
In the weeks since, the U.K. blocked Maduro from withdrawing gold reserves from the Bank of England, Bulgaria has started probing possible Venezuelan government money-laundering and China scrapped a joint energy project.
But not everyone is on board with the U.S. pressure campaign. Mexico has notably joined the likes of Cuba, Turkey and Russia in standing by Maduro and President Juan Manuel Lopez Obrador has refused to join calls for new Venezuelan elections.
“There can be no bystanders in Venezuela’s struggle for freedom.”
“To those nations that have been supporting the Maduro regime, in the wake of the brutality that the world witnessed this weekend, we urge you to reconsider. Reconsider your support for the tyrant.”
Even as Pence made that appeal, he suggested a force even more powerful than the United States was watching to see how countries respond to the Venezuelan crisis.
“To the good people of Venezuela: Seek your freedom. We will go with you. You go with God. Vayan con Dios.”