Remarks by President Trump to the Venezuelan American Community | Eastern North Carolina Now

Press Release:

    Florida International University Ocean Bank Convocation Center  •  Miami, Florida  •  February 18, 2019  •  4:47 P.M. EST

President Trump in in Miami speaking to the Venezuelan community: Above. (White House photo)     Click image to expand.

    MRS. TRUMP: Thank you. (Applause.) It is wonderful to be here today in the beautiful city of Miami. (Applause.) The President and I are honored to stand with all of you as we together support the people - great people - of Venezuela. (Applause.)

    I'm proud to be here with you in the United States of America as your First Lady. (Applause.) Many of you in the room know what it feels like to be blessed with freedom after living under the oppression of socialism and communism. (Applause.) In Venezuela, the people are on the brink of reclaiming their own liberty.

    Today, we must let the Venezuelan people hear us all with one united voice. There is hope, we are free, and we pray together loudly and proudly that soon the people of Venezuela will be free as well. (Applause.)

    My husband is here today because he cares deeply about the current suffering in Venezuela. This afternoon, he has an important message to share.


    Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to introduce my husband and the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. (Applause.)

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Melania. America is truly blessed to have such a - an extraordinary - right? Extraordinary First Lady. (Applause.) She's extraordinary. She really is. She cares about people.

    Hello, Miami. I am thrilled to be back in the state I love with so many proud, freedom-loving patriots. We're here to proclaim a new day is coming in Latin America. (Applause.) It's coming.

    In Venezuela and across the Western Hemisphere, socialism is dying, and liberty, prosperity, and democracy are being reborn. (Applause.)

    Today, our hearts are filled with hope because of the determination of millions of everyday Venezuelans, the patriotism of the Venezuelan National Assembly, and the incredible courage of Interim President Juan Guaidó. (Applause.)

    The people of Venezuela are standing for freedom and democracy, and the United States of America is standing right by their side. (Applause.)

    Let me begin by thanking the great leaders here today who have been such incredible champions for the cause of liberty. And these people love you, and they love Venezuela, and they love Cuba. And they love all of the places that we're fighting for. (Applause.)

    Newly elected and already doing an incredible job, Governor Ron DeSantis. (Applause.)

    A man who I call, especially when we're talking about Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua - he knows a lot, and he's a friend of mine: Senator Marco Rubio. (Applause.)

    A great governor; he gave Ron a little bit of a head start. He did a fantastic job in Florida. Former governor, and now senator, Rick Scott. (Applause.)

    Somebody that I've gotten to know very well, especially as to the fact that my heart is in Venezuela - (applause) - Representative Mario Diaz-Balart. (Applause.)

    Ambassador Carlos Trujillo. (Applause.) Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Núñez. (Applause.) Your new and great Attorney General, Ashley Moody. (Applause.) And to so many other dedicated public officials that are in this room right now, we thank you very much for being with us. Thank you. (Applause.)

    Thank you also to Secretary of Commerce. Wilbur Ross is with us, and Ambassador Lighthizer. Ambassador Lighthizer, I have to say, just got back from a place called China. And, boy, oh, boy - we're making a lot of progress. Nobody expected this was going to be happening. (Applause.) We're making a lot of progress. (Applause.)

    In the meantime, billions and billions of dollars are coming into our Treasury. It's very simple. All works. That never happened before. We don't know the feeling in this country, but now we know the feeling. (Applause.)

    We also want to extend our deep appreciation to the President of Florida International University, Dr. Mark Rosenberg - (applause) - for hosting this important event.

    Finally, I want to thank each and every person in this wonderful audience who has made your own stand for human dignity. And that's probably just about all of you. (Applause.)

    And I want to especially thank the Venezuelan exile community that has done so much to support President Guaidó to organize aid for their compatriots and to do just a lot back home. Thank you very much for being here. Thank you. We're with you. (Applause.)

    We are profoundly grateful to every dissident, every exile, every political prisoner, and everyone who bears witness to the horrors of socialism and communism, and who has bravely spoken out against them. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

    The fact is, you've seen the crimes and you've seen the corruption. You have seen the hunger and the suffering. You have heard the anguished pleas for help. You have protested, and protested with respect, but loudly. And you have prayed for the day we can now see, which is just ahead - the day when all the people of this region will at last be free. (Applause.)


    THE PRESIDENT: As we meet today, the people of Venezuela stand at the threshold of history, ready to reclaim their country and to reclaim their future.

    Not long ago, Venezuela was the wealthiest nation, by far, in South America. But years of socialist rule have brought this once-thriving nation to the brink of ruin. That's where it is today.

    The tyrannical socialist government nationalized private industries and took over private businesses. They engaged in massive wealth confiscation, shut down free markets, suppressed free speech, and set up a relentless propaganda machine, rigged elections, used the government to persecute their political opponents, and destroyed the impartial rule of law.

    In other words, the socialists have done in Venezuela all of the same things that socialists, communists, totalitarians have done everywhere that they've had a chance to rule. The results have been catastrophic.

    Almost 90 percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty.

    In 2018, hyperinflation in Venezuela exceeded 1 million percent. Crippling shortages of food and medicine plague the country. Socialism has so completely ravaged this great country that even the world's largest reserves of oil are no longer enough to keep the lights on. This will never happen to us. (Applause.)


    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

    Already, more than 3 million Venezuelans have fled Maduro's brutal opposition - and brutal it is.


    Today, we are honored to be joined by Amintha Perez, the mother of Oscar Perez - a courageous Venezuelan police officer. (Applause.) You know the story.

    In June of 2017, Oscar piloted a helicopter over the city of Baruta with the banner, "350 Liberty," a reference to Article 350 of the Venezuelan constitution, which states: "The people of Venezuela...shall disown any regime, legislation or authority that violates democratic values...or encroaches upon human rights."

    Oscar said he wanted to give the people hope. He loved the people. He fought for the people. And they loved Oscar. But Oscar was gunned down and killed by Venezuela's - you know this very well; you all know the story - by the Venezuelan security forces, viciously.

    Amintha, our hearts break for your loss. Oscar gave his life for the freedom of his people. We all have hope today because of great, great people and patriots like Oscar. (Applause.) Please, Amintha. (Applause.)

    I said, "How about saying something in Spanish?" She likes Spanish. She's a little bit better in Spanish. Please. Please.

    AUDIENCE: (Inaudible.)

    MS. PEREZ: (Speaks Spanish.) (No translation provided.)


    THE PRESIDENT: I don't know what she said, but I think I know what she said. And she is an incredible woman. And Oscar was an incredible man who will not have died in vain. (Applause.)

    A few weeks ago, on January 23rd, Venezuela's National Assembly invoked the Venezuelan constitution to declare the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as the country's legitimate leader. In one of his first acts, President Guaidó invoked the same constitutional article that Oscar carried through the skies to notify the world that Maduro was illegitimate.

    Within 30 minutes, the United States was proud to be the first nation in the world to recognize President Guaidó. (Applause.)


    THE PRESIDENT: And, by the way, John Bolton is here. Where is John? (Applause.) Working hard.

    Today, more than 50 countries around the world now recognize the rightful government of Venezuela. And the Venezuelan people have spoken, and the world has heard their beautiful voice. They are turning the page on socialism, turning the page on dictatorship, and there will be no going back. (Applause.)

    Peace-loving nations are ready to help Venezuela reclaim its democracy, its dignity, and its destiny. All the nations in our hemisphere have the shared interest in preventing the spread of socialist tyranny. Socialism, by its very nature, does not respect borders. It does not respect boundaries or the sovereign rights of its citizens or its neighbors. It's always seeking to expand, to encroach, and to subjugate others to its will.

    The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere - (applause) - and, frankly, in many, many places around the world. The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well. (Applause.)

    Do we love Cuba? (Applause.) Do we love Nicaragua? (Applause.) Great countries. Such great potential. Remember that word. Such unbelievable potential.

    In the meantime, we must all work together to end a humanitarian disaster. As we speak, there are truckloads filled with hundreds of tons of desperately needed humanitarian supplies stopped at the borders of Venezuela and waiting to help the millions and millions in need.


    Two days ago, the first U.S. Air Force C-17 - that's a big, beautiful plane - landed in Colombia loaded with crucial assistance, including thousands of nutrition kits for little Venezuelan children. (Applause.) Unfortunately, Dictator Maduro has blocked this lifesaving aid from entering the country. He would rather see his people starve than give them aid, than help them.

    Millions of Venezuelans are starving and suffering while a small handful at the top of the Maduro regime plunder the nation into poverty and into death. We know who they are, and we know where they keep the billions of dollars that they have stolen.
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