Pence to South Florida Venezuelans: 'We will stand with you until democracy is restored' – Sun Sentinel
Vice President Mike Pence assured South Florida Venezuelans that the U.S. would use the full measure of its economic and diplomatic power to end repression in the South American country.
But in a speech Wednesday in Doral, he stopped short of the fiery rhetoric of President Donald Trump that a military option might be necessary to overthrow the nation’s leader. The vice president focused on diplomatic and economic options.
“We are with you,” he said. “We will stand with you until democracy is restored.”
Pence said the Trump administration has implemented three rounds of targeted sanctions against the country’s regime and there will be “more to come.”
Hundreds of people filled the pews at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, cheering loudly when Trump’s name was mentioned and occasionally chanting “libertad.”
A few in the pews waved the Venezuelan flag as Latin music played over the church’s speakers.
Gov. Rick Scott sat next to Pence at a meeting with exiles and local leaders. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio also attended.
Andriena Kissane, 42, a Venezuelan expatriate living in Pinecrest, said she favors immediate military action to help the people suffering there.
“I am very afraid to go to my country,” she said. “I am afraid I won’t come back alive.”
Doral is home to the U.S.’s largest population of Venezuelans.
More than 80,000 people of Venezuelan ancestry are now living in South Florida, including a large community in Weston.
Raymond Rondon, 68, traveled from Weston to listen to Pence’s speech. He visited his native country in October.
The nation was nothing like he remembered from his youth, he said.
“I saw kids eating out of the