AP NEWS

Sen. Rubio to take Venezuelan exile to State of the Union

February 5, 2019

MIAMI (AP) — A Venezuelan exile who has been named a diplomatic official by the country’s new self-proclaimed interim president will join Republican Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio at the State of the Union Address.

Rubio announced Monday that Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Venezuela to the United States Carlos Vecchio will be his official guest at President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night speech before Congress.

Vecchio is an attorney and co-founder of the Venezuelan opposition party, Voluntad Popular. He fled President Nicolas Maduro’s government in 2014.

Maduro clings to power, while Venezuelan Congress leader Juan Guaido has proclaimed himself interim president.

Rubio has played a leading role in urging Trump to clamp down on Maduro. Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants, and many Cuban-Americans see parallels between the socialist government in Venezuela and Cuba’s communist government.