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Montevideo, September 21st 2018 - 06:16 UTC

Pence in Brazil exposes US government's double standard on fleeing migrants

Wednesday, June 27th 2018 - 08:38 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Pence said he had a message “straight from (his) heart” for Central Americans, who account for many of those crossing from Mexico into the U.S. Pence said he had a message “straight from (his) heart” for Central Americans, who account for many of those crossing from Mexico into the U.S.
Pence announced the US will provide nearly US$ 10 million more to support Venezuelan migrants, including US$ 1.2 million that will go to Brazil Pence announced the US will provide nearly US$ 10 million more to support Venezuelan migrants, including US$ 1.2 million that will go to Brazil

United States Vice-president Mike Pence thanked Brazil on Tuesday for welcoming Venezuelans fleeing their country’s collapse, while warning Central Americans running from violence in their homelands not to attempt to enter the United States illegally.

Pence announced that the United States will provide nearly US$ 10 million more to support Venezuelan migrants, including US$ 1.2 million that will go to Brazil, but he urged Central Americans to “build your lives in your homeland.”

The seemingly contradictory messages underscored the delicate dance the United States is trying to perform: It wants to punish and isolate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s populist government while mitigating the effects on the Venezuelan people. At the same time, it wants to stem the flow of migrants illegally crossing its own borders.

Addressing reporters after his meeting with Brazilian President Michel Temer, Pence said he had a message “straight from (his) heart” for Central Americans, who account for many of those crossing from Mexico into the U.S.

“Don’t risk your lives or the lives of your children by trying to come to the United States on a road run by drug smugglers and human traffickers,” he said. “If you can’t come legally, don’t come at all.”
During their meeting, Pence and Temer spoke about Brazilian children separated from their parents who were detained while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Temer told reporters that he asked for Pence’s “special attention to secure the rapid reunification of families.” Temer offered Brazil’s help in repatriating Brazilian minors.

Venezuela, which is experiencing an economic collapse worse than the Great Depression, was supposed to be the focus of Pence’s trip to the region this week before controversy over American immigration policies in recent weeks forced the vice president to shift gears. The Trump administration wants to ramp up the pressure on Maduro, who recently won a second term in an election condemned as illegitimate by the U.S. and other countries.

“Venezuela’s collapse is creating a humanitarian crisis leading to widespread deprivation, the denial of basic services and starvation,” Pence said. “It has spurred the largest cross-border mass exodus in the history of our hemisphere.”

The vice president praised Brazil’s support of economic sanctions against its neighbor and for taking the lead in efforts to isolate Maduro, even as he said Brazil and other nations in the region should do more. Pence will visit a center for Venezuelan migrants in the Brazilian Amazon on Wednesday.

Other than the discussion of migrants, Pence’s visit appeared light on substance, as was expected given that Temer is deeply unpopular and a lame duck ahead of October elections.

Brazil announced that it officially signed the “Open Skies” agreement, which will allow an unlimited number of flights between the countries, though the pact had long been agreed to. The two countries also agreed to increase space cooperation, though they gave few details. Both leaders said they would work to lower trade barriers after the U.S. imposed restrictions recently on imports of Brazilian steel and aluminum.

Pence’s visit comes at a time when soccer-mad Brazilians have their focus on the World Cup in Russia, where Brazil plays Serbia on Wednesday.

During initial comments to the press, Temer joked that he hoped Pence would support Brazil’s team if it goes all the way. Pence said he would root for Brazil — while he is on Brazilian soil.

Pence next heads to Ecuador, where he is expected to continue to call for more pressure on Venezuela. On Thursday, in Guatemala, Pence will meet with the presidents of Guatemala and Honduras and the vice president of El Salvador to address immigration to the U.S.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • JDB

    This is how the British run the (un elected) administrations in their countries.

    https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1010121158233116674

    I don't think that we need to pay attention to criticisms made by subjects of a country run in this manner.

    Jun 29th, 2018 - 12:51 am +1
  • JDB

    So the Brits are anti American. Who knew!

    Remember Ruby Ridge!

    Jun 28th, 2018 - 01:21 am 0
  • JDB

    You have got to admire some of Greenwald's combacks. For instance,

    https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1010124789485309952

    But Greenwald has made a small error. The UK Government is, by far, the most authoritarian in the west.

    Remember Ruby Ridge!

    Jul 02nd, 2018 - 04:49 am 0
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