By Alexander Santana
As he spoke to about 1,500 cheering members of the Venezuelan, Cuban, and Nicaraguan exile communities at Miami’s Florida International University (FIU) on Monday, President Donald Trump said that “socialism promises prosperity, but it delivers poverty” and once again reiterated his support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó and the end of Nicolas Maduro’s regime. He focused on the suffering of the Venezuelan people as a result of Maduro’s socialist policies and authoritarian regime but also remarked on the oppressive regimes in Cuba and Nicaragua as well. When talking about Venezuela, Trump said, “We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open.”
The event held at FIU’s Ocean Bank Convocation Center at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus also included several members of federal, state, and local government as well as First Lady Melania Trump, who introduced her husband. Florida’s two Republican Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, were in attendance as well as Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Núñez. Also present were two members of the President’s Cabinet, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as well as the mayors of Miami and Miami-Dade County.
“Almost 90 percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty,” said Trump. “In 2018, hyperinflation in Venezuela exceeded 1 million percent. Crippling shortages of food and medicine plague the country.” Trump also stated that the United States had sent humanitarian aid on Saturday, but that Maduro “has blocked this life saving aid from entering the country.” Trump said that Maduro “would rather see his people starve than give them aid, than help them.”
The President argued that members of the Venezuelan military “are risking their future, they are risking their lives and Venezuela’s future, for a man controlled by the Cuban military and protected by a private army of Cuban soldiers.” Trump called Maduro “a Cuban puppet” and had a message for all Venezuelan officials keeping Maduro in power.
“The eyes of the entire world are upon you today, every day, and every day in the future,” he said. “You cannot hide from the choice that now confronts you,” he said. The President stated Venezuelan officials could accept amnesty from Guaidó and live in peace but they must not block humanitarian food and supplies from reaching the millions of Venezuelans suffering in poverty. “President Guaidó does not seek retribution against you, and neither do we” he said.
Speaking to a crowd of people who had suffered at the hands of these three regimes, Trump stated that socialists “want the power to decide who wins and who loses, who’s up and who’s down, what’s true and what’s false, and even who lives and who dies.” “Everywhere and anywhere it appears, socialism advances under the banner of progress, but in the end, it delivers only corruption, exploitation, and decay,” he added.
Toward the end of his speech, Trump said that one can see what it is like for freedom to prosper in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua as a result of what has happened in South Florida cities such as Doral, Miami, and Sweetwater in the past 60 years. Trump ended his speech by saying “One day soon, with God’s help, we are going to see what the people will do in Caracas and Managua and Havana. And when Venezuela is free, and Cuba is free, and Nicaragua is free, this will become the first free hemisphere in all of human history.”