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Pence criticizes Maduro for dancing while aid burned at Venezuelan border

Pence to Latin American leaders: 'It's time to do more' to support Guaidó

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(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BOGOTA, Colombia – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence criticized embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday for dancing while U.S. humanitarian aid burned and people died while protesting at the Venezuelan borders with Colombia and Brazil. 

During an emergency summit of a 14-nation coalition, Guaidó also said Maduro decided to dance at a rally as if the blocking of the entry of humanitarian aid -- which is meant to help save lives amid a crisis -- was a victory.

"They are dancing in Caracas on the tombs of indigenous people," Guaidó said in Spanish refering to the deaths of Pemon indigenous people at the hands of Venezuelan soldiers during shootings at the border with Brazil. 

The members of the military weren't the only ones who were firing their weapons at civilians, Pence said. He also denounced Maduro's support of the masked men, who while wielding rifles and guns, attacked unarmed civilians, opposition lawmakers and reporters this weekend. 

The U.S. Department of State released this photo on Monday showing U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Colombian President Ivan Duque showing their support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
The U.S. Department of State released this photo on Monday showing U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Colombian President Ivan Duque showing their support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

Pence also repeated President Donald Trump's suggestion of U.S. military action with an "all options are on the table" statement during meetings in Colombia, which Colombian President Ivan Duque and Guaidó have also adopted. 

"It's time to do more," Pence said. 

Pence said the U.S. will continue to provide assistance to Guaidó, as Venezuela's interim president, and $56 million in aid for the countries where Venezuelan refugees in need of help have moved to. 

Pence urged other countries to freeze the Venezuelan assets that Maduro controls and to adopt similar measures to isolate members of his administration.

"Being permissive with the usurpation of power would be a threat to democracy in all of America," Pence said.

Maduro responded on Twitter in Spanish by referring to the U.S. as an "empire" and to U.S. allies as "lackeys" and he added that his administration is working on solving "the problems." His tweet had a picture of him holding a copy of the version of the constitution that the sociliast members of his 2017 Constitutional Assembly recognize. 

Guaidó considers that constitution and Maduro's election illegitimate, so he is leading the opposition with the support of the National Assembly and with the opposition's interpretation of the 1999 constitution that former President Hugo Chavez upheld. 

While Maduro claims the opposition's desire to bring aid to Venezuela is a publicity stunt, his supporters were using pictures of protesters who were rushing to salvage aid from a burning truck to say the incident was staged. But a reporter who shot the pictures told Colombian reporters that she had witnessed how Venezuelan authorities set the truck on fire. 

Pence said U.S. investigators are working on cases of money laundering that are related to the alleged ongoing public corruption in Venezuela, and Guaidó will continue to support the members of the Venezuelan military who betray Maduro.


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