U.S. President Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Florida International University in Miami on Feb. 18, and warned members of Venezuela's military who remain loyal to socialist President Nicolas Maduro that they are risking their future.
“Maduro is not a Venezuelan patriot. He is a Cuban puppet. That’s what he is,” the president said.
“For decades the socialist dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela have propped each other up in a very corrupt bargain. Venezuela gave Cuba oil. In return, Cuba gave Venezuela a police state run directly from Havana. But this is a much different day and those days are over.”
President Trump said before a huge gathering of the U.S.-Venezuelan community that "the people of Venezuela are standing for freedom and democracy, and the United States of America is standing right by their side."
The military has blocked the United States from delivering tons of humanitarian aid that has already been airlifted in recent days to the Colombia-Venezuela border. Trump said that as "twilight hour of socialism has arrived," the Venezuelan military personnel that continue to stand with Maduro "will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything."
He implored them to accept President Juan Guaidó's offer of amnesty for those in the military who will step down and allow a peaceful transfer of power.
"Let your people go. Set your country free," Trump said.
Trump told the Florida's Venezuelan community that recent changes in South and Central America suggest that the path away from socialism and toward true democracy on the two continents is now irreversible.
“Socialism promises prosperity but it delivers poverty. Socialism promises unity but it delivers hatred and … division. Socialism promises a better future but it always returns to the darkest chapters of the past. That never fails. It always happens.”
The president pledged the support of the United States to Venezuelans who “are standing for freedom and democracy.”
“We’re here to proclaim a new day is coming in Latin America,” Trump said. “In Venezuela and across the Western Hemisphere socialism is dying and liberty, prosperity, and democracy are being reborn.”
Sailor in Iconic V-J Day Photo Kissing in Times Square Dies at 95The ecstatic sailor shown kissing a woman in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II died on Feb. 17. George Mendonsa was 95.
Mendonsa fell and had a seizure at the assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island, where he lived with his wife of 70 years, according to his daughter, Sharon Molleur, in The Providence Journal.
Mendonsa was shown kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945. Known as V-J Day, it was the day Japan surrendered to the United States. People spilled into the New York City streets to celebrate the news.
Mendonsa planted a kiss on Friedman, whom he had never met. Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at the age of 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.
Mendonsa died two days before his 96th birthday on Feb, 17. The family has not yet made funeral arrangements.
Runaway ISIS Bride Wants to Return to the UK
Shamima Begum, the London teenager who ran away to join ISIS at the age of 15, has just given birth in a Syrian refugee camp and has renewed her pleas to be allowed back into the UK with her newborn son.
Begum, who spoke to Sky News reporter John Sparks, said "a lot of people should have sympathy" toward her, as she urged her family to "keep trying to get me back [to the UK]."
In an earlier interview with the Sunday Times, Begum was unrepentant about running away from home to join up with ISIS, saying "I don’t regret coming here."
She added she thought the so-called caliphate was corrupt and nearing collapse.
"I don't have high hopes. They are just getting smaller and smaller," she said. "And there is so much oppression and corruption going on that I don't really think they deserve victory."
The British government has stepped up efforts to block ISIS affiliates from returning to the UK on the grounds that they pose a threat.
The government said stripping citizenship is “particularly important in helping prevent the return to the UK of dual-national British citizens involved in terrorism-related activity in Syria or Iraq.”
The action has also been extended to lower-level extremists and criminals, including Rochdale grooming-gang members.
However, the UK government draws a distinction between people who have actually fought under the banner of ISIS and those who joined the terror group as supporters.