MIAMI -March 6, 2019-US Vice President Mike Pence granted his first exclusive interview to a Spanish-language network since taking office to Noticias Telemundo’s Washington, D.C. correspondent Cristina Londoño. The interview took place today in Washington, D.C. and covered immigration, the upcoming presidential elections and the crisis in Venezuela, among other subjects of interest to the Hispanic community.
This is a rush transcript and it’s subject to change. If you quote the following material please credit “Noticias Telemundo.”
MP: Mike Pence
CL: Cristina Londoño.
CL: Mr. Vice President.
MP: So nice to see you. Thank you.
CL: Nice to see you. Thank you for giving us the first interview to a Spanish-language network in the U.S.
MP: I am very pleased to do so.
CL: Mr. Vice President, your progress about Venezuela… Nicolás Maduro allowed Juan Guaidó to return to the country. Was it under pressure by the U.S. and how much longer are you going to be patient? We have seen the Venezuelan military shooting at civilians. They’re starving. How much longer are we waiting?
MP: Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power and Nicolás Maduro must go. The National Assembly, operating under the constitution, has recognized Juan Guaidó as the interim President of Venezuela. The United States, under President Trump’s direction, was proud to be the first nation on earth to recognize President Guaidó. Since that time, 50 nations have joined us, and President Guaidó has been providing leadership for his nation, marshaling support for a restoration of libertad for the people of Venezuela, and America is standing with him. It was unconscionable for the dictator, Maduro, to be dancing in the streets of Caracas while his henchmen burned truckloads of food and medicine and murdered civilians along the border. President’s Guaidó return to his country after marshaling international support, addressing his people, now engaging public employees, are all a demonstration of his leadership and we’re going to continue to stand with all the freedom loving people in Venezuela until democracy is restored.
CL: How much longer? Do you have a timeline?
MP: There is no timeline. We believe that the people, through their duly elected National Assembly have spoken. Interim President Guaidó has assumed authority under their constitution, but our focus is on seeing a restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Venezuela. The humanitarian crisis in that nation impacting the entire region is almost hard to imagine. Some three million people have fled Venezuela, many going through Colombia and Brazil. When my wife and I travelled to the region, more than a year ago, we met with families that had fled the depravation and the oppression under the Maduro rule. The truth is if things don’t change this year, we anticipate that maybe two million more will flee. The time has come for Maduro to go. The time has come for the world to rally around interim President Juan Guaidó and America will continue to stand with him until their freedom is restored.
CL: The Trump administration has worked really hard and fought tooth and nail to get their campaign promises. One of them was having a heart towards the DACA recipients and the TPS recipients. That side of the promise we have not seen yet. Are they forgotten?
MP: The President and I couldn’t be more proud of the progress of the Latino community under this administration. We have cut taxes, rolled back regulation, expanded opportunity for businesses and now more Hispanic Americans are working today than ever before in our nation’s history. But the President has also called for reforms of our immigration system. Our immigration system is broken. We have a crisis at our Southern border and the President is going to continue to call on the Congress to support border security, to support his declaration of a national emergency. But once we secure our border, the President has made it very clear that whether it’s DACA recipients, TPS, or other issues, that when Congress is ready to actually address the loopholes in our system that human traffickers and drug cartels use to entice vulnerable families to take the long and dangerous journey up to our Southern border, we’re ready to make those reforms. We’re ready to do that with compassion and commitment to the rule of law, but everything begins with border security.
CL: Talking about border security, there are Republicans that have even signaled that they would be against the emergency declaration and against using those 8 billion dollars for border security. What do you say to those Republicans and how can you insist that there is an emergency at the border when even Republicans are saying there isn’t?
MP: Well, headlines across the country today and the latest report from the Department of Homeland Security prove what the President and I have been saying for months: that we have a Humanitarian and a security crisis at our Southern border. Homeland Security just reported yesterday that we’ve apprehended more people, migrant families, and unaccompanied minors attempting to come into our country legally at the Southern border in the first five months of this fiscal year than in any prior year in our history. It’s a 300% increase and it’s harming people on both sides of the border. That’s why the President worked so hard to get resources for border security from the Congress. That’s why we declared a national emergency to access additional federal resources. We’re very confident that his use of his authority under the national emergencies act was right and proper and needed. We have to address this crisis at our Southern border. We have to have the resources to build a wall, provide additional support for custom and border protection, additional technology and resources. Not just because of the flow of individuals, because for the first time ever the majority of people being enticed to come to our Southern border are families and unaccompanied children who are being exploited by human traffickers and drug cartels in Central America. We need to secure our border, close the loopholes, and end the time of exploitation so that our border protection can also focus on the flow of illegal drugs and human trafficking that makes its way across our border and harms our families and our nation.
CL: I have a final question. You just said, “Viva Cuba Libre,” and you also said there’s a fight in this country between socialism and freedom. Is that the concern? Is the American public concerned about the possibility of socialism taking over?
MP: Everything that the President and I have done for this country, the economic book that’s underway, more Americans working than ever before, is a result of promoting freedom. Less government, less taxes, less regulation, more American energy. And yet, leading voices in the Democratic Party in this country are actually advocating socialism as their agenda, under the guise of new titles, “Medicare For All” and “The Green New Deal,” but the American people see it for what it is: more government, more taxes, more regulation, and less freedom. As this campaign goes forward we are going to continue to lay out that choice and I really believe with all of my heart that if we carry the message of freedom to the American people of all 50 States, the American people are going to choose freedom every time.
CL: Thank you so much, Mr. President.
MP: Thank you.
Contact: Camilo Pino. Publicity Director, Telemundo Network News/C: 305.322.9584/E: email@example.com/ A: Telemundo Center, 2350 NW 117th Place, Miami, FL 33182