THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
April 15, 2018
REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT PENCE AT FIRST PLENARY SESSION OF THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Secretary General Almagro, President Vizcarra, Presidents, Prime Ministers, and leaders from across the Western Hemisphere -- it is my great honor to join you today, as Vice President of the United States of America, at the 8th Summit of the Americas.
And I bring greetings and great respect to each of you from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.
And as all freedom-loving nations know as well, the greatest corruption of government is when the people lose their voice, their vote, their freedom, and their basic human rights under the heavy hand of dictatorship. And the free nations of this conference are right to focus in renewed ways on ending dictatorship here in the New World.
As we speak, a tired communist regime continues to impoverish its people and deny their most fundamental rights in Cuba. The Castro regime has systematically sapped the wealth of a great nation and stolen the lives of a proud people. Our administration has taken decisive action to stand with the Cuban people, and stand up to their oppressors.
No longer will the United States fund Cuba’s military, security and intelligence services -- the core of that despotic regime. And the United States will continue to support the Cuban people as they stand and call for freedom.
But Cuba’s dictatorship has not only beset its own people, as we all well know -- with few exceptions in this room acknowledging that. Cuba’s dictators have also sought to export their failed ideology across the wider region. And as we speak, they are aiding and abetting the corrupt dictatorship in Venezuela.
In Venezuela, as in Cuba, the tragedy of tyranny is on full display. As this body knows well, Venezuela was one of our hemisphere’s richest nations once, and not too long ago. It is now among the poorest. Venezuela was also once a flourishing democracy. It has now collapsed into dictatorship and tyranny.