In a speech to the State Department on May 7, VP Pence stated that Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro has been providing safe haven for the Iranian terrorist network. They publicly opened a direct flight between Caracas and Tehran. In April, Maduro’s top diplomat travelled to Beirut to meet with Hezbollah (via The Washington Examiner). The regime denies it, but the signs are unmistakable.
Maduro used outsiders and local gangs to stay in power after massive demonstrations and defections threatened to unseat him. Mercenaries from Russia and Cuba, and local gangs were known to help his forces crack down on protesters. A country that creates alliances with foes of the USA is a danger to us all.
VP Pence stated:
The Iranian regime has been working with Venezuela’s corrupt dictatorship to establish a safe haven for its terrorist proxies, and continues to do so as we gather here. Last month, a high-level delegation from Iran’s Foreign Ministry celebrated a very public launch of direct air service between Caracas and Tehran by Mahan Air, a blacklisted airline controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which President Trump recently designated as a terrorist organization.
And one of Maduro’s top aides — a former Vice President and currently the Interior Minister, Tareck El Aissami — is a drug runner and a money launderer who partners with terrorist networks to bring Iran-backed terrorists into the country. And today, Hezbollah is working to extend its dangerous network throughout Venezuela, and from there, throughout our hemisphere.
The Vice President stated that “failed states” like Venezuela have no “boundaries” and are willing to partner with
“drug traffickers, criminal gangs, terrorist groups seeking to destabilize the region and profit from the misery of the Venezuelan people every day.”
We are watching that very thing at this time, as Cuban Communists steal resources from the people of Venezuela on a daily basis. China is attempting to extend its influence as well. Russia provides planes and weapons to Maduro’s dictatorship as it takes from them, giving nothing in return to the people who long for freedom. Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are a concern, as a safe haven for terrorism in our hemisphere also threatens the US.
We know that China, Iran, and others are trying very hard to extend their presence in the regime. They are exploiting the vast natural resources of Venezuela and are, in fact, having a field day thousands, millions of kilometers from their own countries.
Gonzalo Koncke, OAS official during a hearing on foreign interference in Venezuela
As Juan Guaido struggles to remove Maduro from power, the task ahead of him is great. It is unclear exactly what the United States and 50 other nations who back Guaido can or will do to assist his efforts. After the failed coup last week, it is obvious that removing Maduro and his foreign allies is going to require more than millions of unarmed protesters.
Featured photo: screenshot of VP Pence at OAS meeting on May 7