Remarks at Organization of American States Reception

John J. Sullivan
Deputy Secretary of State
Indian Treaty Room, Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, DC
June 4, 2018

I am honored to welcome tonight, the foreign ministers and OAS permanent representatives of so many close friends of the United States in this Hemisphere.

It is a great privilege that the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, is with us this evening. Mr. Vice President, thank you for your strong and unyielding voice for democracy in our Hemisphere, what you have heralded as “the hemisphere of freedom.”

I would also like to thank Secretary General Almagro and team for organizing the 48th General Assembly of the OAS. Under the Secretary General’s leadership, the OAS is once again the most respected and effective multilateral political institution in the Americas.

I see our U.S. candidate to be Director General of the International Organization for Migration, Ken Isaacs. Great to have you, Ken, and may you gain the votes of many here in this room.

Friends, our common objective at this General Assembly is a resolution that condemns the unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime in Venezuela and begins consideration of Venezuela’s suspension from the OAS.

Vice President Pence made our case before the OAS on May 7, and Secretary of State Pompeo amplified it today.

Those of you gathered in this room represent the Hemisphere’s leading democracies, with histories of liberty and independence of which we are rightly proud.

As fellow citizens of the Americas, we cannot merely stand by and ignore the dramatic deterioration of democratic rule in Venezuela, the suffering of the Venezuelan people, and the challenge posed to the region by the exodus of Venezuelans fleeing the man-made crisis in their country.

Our actions, at this General Assembly, will define us as a hemisphere.

So let us take this opportunity to work through the OAS in this General Assembly, to honor the democratic principles and purposes of the OAS Charter, the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, and our landmark Inter-American Democratic Charter. We are strong when we act together, sure and steadfast in our shared values.

I thank you for joining with us in this common effort. I know the Vice President has more to say on the subject. So, with that, I am very proud to introduce the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.