Vice President Pence at the Organization of American States on May 7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the Organization of American States (OAS) on Monday, the first time a U.S. vice president has addressed the hemispheric multilateral body since Al Gore in 1994. Pence delivered a forceful speech about the one South American issue the administration has taken a strong stance on: Venezuela.

Why it matters: There’s no doubt that Venezuela presents the region’s greatest crisis. For some — especially Venezuela’s beleaguered democratic opposition — the Trump administration’s stronger rhetoric and sanctions against members of President Nicolás Maduro's government were a welcome change from the Obama administration's tack.

The region and the OAS have failed to act as President Hugo Chávez and President Maduro have torn up Venezuela’s democratic institutions, repressed independent media, clamped down on political opposition and gamed the electoral system in their favor.

In contrast, Pence called on Maduro to suspend the country’s May 20 presidential election, citing unfair conditions (15 governments in the region, including the U.S., have denounced the process). He also called on each OAS country to follow the U.S.’ lead by imposing individual sanctions on public officials engaged in corruption and money laundering in the form of bank freezes and visa restrictions, and by holding Maduro accountable for destroying Venezuela’s democracy. (Though what accountability means wasn't clear.)

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: axiom]

Christopher Sabatini is a lecturer at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and executive director of Global Americans.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
47 mins ago - Economy & Business

Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!