(ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Vice President Mike Pence issued a message of support to Venezuelans opposing the government on Wednesday (January 23), promising support for Juan Guaido and branding Nicolas Maduro a "dictator with no legitimate claim to power." The opposition has been energized by Guaido, the new leader of congress, and by a harsh international reception of Maduro's second term, widely condemned as illegitimate.
"We hope that Nicolas Maduro will accept a peaceful transition of power in Venezuela, that he will accept the will of the people to move his country forward and embrace their new president, Juan Guaido," Pence said during an interview on the Fox Business Network.
Maduro, who was inaugurated on Jan.
10 following a 2018 election widely viewed as a sham, has presided over Venezuela's spiral into its worst-ever economic crisis.
Pence has largely taken the lead within U.S. President Donald Trump's administration in condemning Maduro.
Earlier in the month, he made clear the United States did not recognize the election result.