During a visit to Colombia, Vice President Mike Pence said that the United States would aid Venezuela both economically and politically. Reuters reports that Pence told reporters in Cartagena that the collapsing Venezuelan government poses a threat to the United States. He is currently on a Latin American tour, which will include stops in Argentina, Chile, and Panama
“President [Donald] Trump has made it very clear that we will not stand by while Venezuela collapses into dictatorship,” Pence said, according to Reuters. “A failed state in Venezuela threatens the security and prosperity of our entire hemisphere and the people of the United States of America.”
These statements followed Trump’s controversial remarks last week, in which he said the United States would take military action against President Nicolas Maduro and the rest of the Venezuelan government. Following Trump’s threat, Maduro called for military action, naming the United States “American imperialists.” Supporters of the Venezuelan government gathered in Caracas to show their opposition to Trump.
Maduro has insisted that the U.S. president is confused about the state of things in Venezuela. Though he tried to reach out, Reuters reports that the White House rejected Maduro’s request to speak to Trump last week, stating that the president would only speak with the leader of Venezuela when the country accepts democracy.
Since the beginning of the anti-government protests in April, over 120 people have been killed in Venezuela, according to Reuters. Pence did not say explicitly if aid from the U.S. would include a regime change. Rather, he echoed that Venezuela’s collapse is a threat to security in the United States.
“We are absolutely determined to bring the full measure of American economic and diplomatic power to bear until we see democracy restored in Venezuela,” Pence said.
The United States does have advanced international security measures in place to protect against governmental threats. Text analytics, for example, support three security measures: to identify dangers near borders and during screenings, to identify potential dangers that need a follow-up, and to forecast future border issues. But these measures only go so far when world leaders are threatening military action.
In an interview with NBC News, Pence reaffirmed that the executive government is willing to take action despite pushback from the American public.
“We’re not going to stand by while Venezuela crumbles,” he said. “We are not going to stand by while Venezuela collapses into dictatorship.”