A "new day" is coming in Latin America and the days of socialist dictatorships are over, US President Donald Trump has said as he issued a dire warning to the Venezuelan military to abandon their support for President Nicolas Maduro or "lose everything". Speaking at Florida International University in Miami, Trump said the US stood behind the people of Venezuela who are standing for freedom and democracy.
The Venezuelan military could play a decisive role in ending the months-long political crisis, but has largely remained loyal to Maduro. Venezuela has also lurched into an economic crisis that has left the country suffering from hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine. "We want to restore Venezuelan democracy, and we believe that the Venezuelan military and its leadership have a vital role to play in this process. If you choose this path, you have the opportunity to help forge a safe and prosperous future for all the people of Venezuela," Trump said. He said more than 50 countries around the world have recognised the rightful government of Venezuela.
"The Venezuelan people have spoken and the world has heard their voice. They are turning the page on Socialism and Dictatorship; and there will be no going back!" he said. "For decades, the socialist dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela have propped each other up in a very corrupt bargain. Venezuela gave Cuba oil. In return, Cuba gave Venezuela a police State run directly from Havana," Trump told a cheering crowd mostly of Venezuelan and Cuban immigrants in Miami on Monday.
"But this is a much different day, and those days are over. The ugly alliance between the two dictatorships is coming to a rapid end. A new future is beginning," he said. Noting that the US seek a peaceful transition of power in Venezuela, Trump, however, said that all options were open.
"As the US stands up for democracy in Venezuela, we reaffirm the solidarity with the long-suffering people of Cuba and Nicaragua and people everywhere living under socialist and communist regimes. To those who would try to impose socialism on the United States, we again deliver a very simple message: America will never be a socialist country," Trump said. He issued a dire warning to Venezuela's military that if they continue to stand with Maduro, "you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything".
"We are here to proclaim that a new day is coming in Latin America. In Venezuela and across the Western Hemisphere, Socialism is dying - and liberty, prosperity, and democracy are being reborn," he said in a tweet "I ask every member of the Maduro regime: End this nightmare of poverty, hunger and death. let your people go. Set your country free! Now is the time for all Venezuelan Patriots to act together, as one united people. Nothing could be better for the future of Venezuela!" Trump said.
The President launched a blistering attack on socialism, saying it promises prosperity, but delivers poverty. "Socialism promises prosperity, but it delivers poverty. Socialism promises unity, but it delivers hatred and it delivers division. Socialism promises a better future, but it always returns to the darkest chapters of the past. That never fails. It always happens," he said. Socialism is a sad and discredited ideology rooted in the total ignorance of history and human nature, which is why socialism, eventually, must always give rise to tyranny, which it does, he said.
Socialists profess a love of diversity, but they always insist on absolute conformity, Trump asserted. "Socialism is about one thing only: power for the ruling class. And the more power they get, the more they crave. They want to run healthcare, run transportation and finance, run energy, education - run everything," he said. Describing socialism as undemocratic, Trump said everywhere and anywhere it appears, socialism advances under the banner of progress, but in the end, it delivers only corruption, exploitation and decay.
(With inputs from agencies.)