Trump urges Venezuela’s military to back its self-declared interim president, saying socialism has ravaged the country

  • President Donald Trump spoke in front of a Venezuelan American community on Monday at Florida Ocean Bank Convocation Center at Florida International University in Miami.
  • He urged Venezuelan military officials to back the country’s self-declared interim president, Juan Guaidó.
  • He said that officials backing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro are risking their lives.
  • He also said socialism is ravaged Venezuela, and told the crowd that that “will never happen to” the United States.

President Donald Trump urged Venezuelan military officials to support the its self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó during a speech on Monday, in which he also said socialism had ravaged the country.

Trump spoke in front of a Venezuelan American community on Monday at Florida Ocean Bank Convocation Center at Florida International University in Miami.

The majority of his speech highlighted the political crisis in Venezuela and criticised socialism.

Speaking to a crowd of mostly Venezuelan and Cuban immigrants, Trump warned that military members who are helping Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could be risking their lives.

“You will find no safe harbour, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything,” he said.

Trump said there are “truckloads” of humanitarian aid at the Venezuelan border“waiting to help millions and millions in need.”

On Saturday the US sent a military aircraft filled with aid for Venezuelan citizens to Colombia, but Maduro would not allow the contents into the country.

“Two days ago the first us air force C-17 landed in Colombia loaded with crucial assistance, including thousands of nutrition kits for little Venezuelan children,” Trump said. “Unfortunately dictator Maduro has blocked this life-saving aid from entering the country. He would rather see his people starve than give them aid.”

Read more:
The US sent a military plane full of soap, toothbrushes, and nutritional products to Colombia to help Venezuelan citizens – but Venezuela’s president won’t accept it

Maduro, who is facing criticism over his management of Venezuela’s economy, has said that accepting aid from the US could lead to a US military invasion and has blocked all foreign aid from entering the country.

Critics say Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent, and a power struggle in the country led to a violent shutdown Saturday,according to the Associated Press.

Trump accused Maduro and a “small handful at the top of the Maduro regime” of failing the Venezuelan people.

“We know who they are and we know where they keep the billions of dollars they have stolen,” Trump said.

He said he would like a “peaceful transition of power,” to Guaidó, “but all options are open.”

Trump also welcomed to the stage the mother of Oscar Perez, a Venezuelan police officer who was killed in a gun battle with authorities months after flying a helicopter over the country’s capital and launching grenades at the Supreme Court building, the Associated Press reported.

Trump said in his speech that a “new day is coming in Latin America” and that what happened there “will never happen to us.”

“Socialism is dying and liberty, prosperity and democracy are being reborn” he said, adding that he hopes soon that “This will become the first free hemisphere in all of human history.”

Trump has previously used the economic situation in Venezuela as a way to warn voters that Democratic politics will turn the US into Venezuela.