Vice President Mike Pence will go to Colombia to demand Maduro step down

Vice President Mike Pence will go to Colombia on Monday to speak with the Colombian president and regional leaders about the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela and rally the international community behind opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

The White House said Pence will deliver remarks to the 14 nations that are part of the “Lima Group” in Bogota about addressing the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and ongoing U.S. efforts to deliver aid to the country. He’ll meet with Colombian President Ivan Duque and other officials from the Western Hemisphere “to define concrete steps that support the Venezuelan people and a transition to democracy.”

Senior administration officials said Pence will state plainly that “the time has come for Nicolas Maduro to step aside.” He will also meet with Venezuelan families who have fled Maduro’s regime.

“The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy, and freedom has the momentum,” said Alyssa Farah, press secretary for Vice President Pence. “Juan Guaido is the only legitimate leader of Venezuela, and it’s time for Nicolas Maduro to go. The United States is proud to join the Lima Group and other global partners to marshal our resources, provide much needed humanitarian relief, and stand together with the people of Venezuela until democracy and freedom are fully restored.”

This trip will be Pence’s fifth trip to Latin America as Vice President.

Franco Ordoñez is a White House correspondent for the McClatchy Washington Bureau with a focus on immigration and foreign affairs. He previously covered Latin American affairs for the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. He moved to Washington in 2011 after six years at the Charlotte Observer covering immigration and working on investigative projects for The Charlotte Observer.