President Donald Trump’s push for democracy in Venezuela will be pitched aggressively Friday by Vice President Mike Pence and fellow Republicans in Florida, where close to 17 percent of active registered voters are Hispanic, per Politico.
The move could be a big political win down the line as Trump needs to carry Florida and its 29 Electoral College votes.
Pence heads to Miami to rally support for the opposition ahead of Venezuelan protests against President Nicolás Maduro, who has been declared an illegitimate leader by the Trump administration and several other countries.
Pence will be joined by Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, and Governor Ron DeSantis, all fellow Republicans.
“Trump is doing the right thing and I’m not going to criticize Trump for doing the right thing because you lose credibility,” said Miami state Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Colombian-born Democrat who backs ousting Maduro.
The Trump administration last week recognized self-declared president Juan Guaidó as the new leader of Venezuela and the White House later imposed stiff sanctions aimed at curbing Maduro’s grip on Venezuelan oil revenues.
The country’s economy has collapsed and the homicide rate is one of the highest in the world under Maduro, and many Venezuelans have reported that they do not have enough food at home. Roughly 3 million of the country’s 32 million people have fled since 2014.
Pence has helped lead the White House’s efforts.
“When it comes to facilitating democracy in Venezuela, my party has historically dropped the ball,” said Helena Poleo, a Florida Democrat and Venezuelan exile. “This will absolutely help the Republicans in Florida if this keeps up. In Florida, Democrats are saying the right things. But nationally, some of them don’t know what they’re talking about and the damage they’re doing to our party.”
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