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A Conversation with Vice President Mike Pence

In a wide-ranging conversation on U.S. engagement in the Western Hemisphere and beyond, Vice President Mike Pence and Wilson Center Director Jane Harman discussed U.S. goals in Central America, the relationship with Mexico, Cuba policy, the crisis in Venezuela, and more.

Date & Time

Jun. 22, 2017
1:00pm – 2:00pm ET


Amphitheater, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center 1300 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20004
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In a wide-ranging conversation on U.S. engagement in the Western Hemisphere and the world at large, Vice President Mike Pence and Wilson Center President Jane Harman discussed U.S. goals in Central America, President Trump’s Cuba policy, the crisis in Venezuela, and beyond.

The Vice President also addressed the U.S. relationship with Mexico and drug-trafficking, while making bold statements on North Korea and NATO.

Key Quotes from Vice President Mike Pence

“I’m here to reaffirm our commitment to the Western Hemisphere as a whole, and especially to the nations and the people of Central America.”

“Since day one of this administration, President Trump has been taking decisive action to restore America’s role as leader of the free world – by putting America first.”

“‘America first’ does not mean ‘America alone.’”

“Under President Trump, the U.S. strongly supports our North Atlantic alliance and strongly supports NATO – and we will be unwavering in our commitment to that alliance.”

“When it comes to North Korea, under this administration, the era of strategic patience is over.”

“Under this administration, the U.S. will continue to work diligently with our allies across the region and China and the wider world to bring increasing economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea and we will continue to do so until North Korea abandons its ballistic and nuclear programs once and for all.”

“I am here to tell you [that] Latin America is a priority for the Trump administration.”

“No longer will America enrich the Cuban regime at the expense of the Cuban people… Our policy will not change until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized and free and internally supervised elections occur.”

“Venezuela’s collapse into authoritarianism and anarchy has been heartbreaking to see.”

“The United States of America condemns the Maduro regime’s abuse of power and abuse of its people. We call upon the Maduro regime to restore a robust democracy and the rule of law and do it now.”

“We were, frankly, disappointed that the OAS did not act in the face of crisis and was unwilling to protect the Inter-American [Democratic] Charter it was founded to preserve.”

“Under President Trump, the United States has three priorities when it comes to that vital region [Central America], particularly the Northern Triangle nations of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. We seek to destroy the gangs and criminal networks, to halt illegal immigration, and lastly, we’re working to stop the flow of illegal drugs into our county and into our communities that are tearing apart American families.”

“Mexico is a valued partner of this administration and we will continue to seek ways to advance security and prosperity in the region with them.”

“The United States stands with the nations and the people of the Northern Triangle to ensure a brighter future for themselves and their posterity.”

“The sad truth is that American demand is driving the flow of drugs. Fully 80 percent of documented drug-smuggling travels through Central America. The cartels and kingpins cause untold suffering in that region and so too do these merchants of death spread violence and leave victims all across America. President Trump has said this must end, and working with our allies in the region and with men and women of law enforcement in this country, this will end.”

“We’re bound together by history and geography in this New World. And under the leadership of President Trump, I believe we’re entering a new era in the New World.”

“I think what’s new [about our Central America policy] is a new and renewed engagement that combines security and prosperity as co-equal goals in the region and, perhaps especially, in the Northern Triangle.”

“[The United States and Mexico] do strongly agree on the issue of transnational migration… Mexico has made great progress securing their southern border.”

“I hope – as we confront challenges in the Middle East, in the Asia-Pacific, and we confront them with firmness and resolve and with clarity – that our neighbors in this hemisphere know that we are also with them, we stand with them, and we are determined to advance the peace and security and prosperity of this hemisphere.”

Read the full transcript of the Vice President's Speech on


Analysis of the Vice President's Speech

Following the Vice President’s wide-ranging remarks on regional cooperation and challenges, three of the Wilson Center's top Latin America experts reacted on topics including immigration, drugs, and defending democratic values.

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