Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The Trump administration reaffirmed its commitment to the Venezuelan opposition by meeting with its delegation to the U.N. General Assembly, increasing humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans who have fled their native country and barring members of President Nicolas Maduro's government from entering the United States.
"As president of the United States, I am committed to the future of stability, prosperity and liberty for Venezuela," U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday in New York City for the U.N. General Assembly. "We will stand with the Venezuelan people every single day until they are finally freed from this horrible and brutal oppression. They will be freed. It will happen."
The White House has been increasing pressure upon Maduro while encouraging other nations to do likewise in order to force the embattled leader to step down.
The United States and some 50 other democracies have put their support behind Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who became the self-appointed interim president of the nation after Maduro's re-election was deemed illegitimate last year.
Trump said Wednesday that the world is at a critical moment concerning Venezuela while calling out Cuba for propping up Maduro in exchange for being permitted to "plunder Venezuelans' oil, raid its wealth and rob its people."
"The civilized world must pressure the Cuban regime to leave Venezuela immediately," he said. "The United States is ready to support a democratic transition government, and we know that our partners around the world -- of which we have many -- are ready as well."
Julio Borges, leader of the opposition delegation to the United Nations, urged the Americas to impose sanctions on Cuba to punish its government for "supporting a criminal regime."
"The alliance between the Cuban and Venezuelan regimes holds over 50 million hostage," he said. "Millions of Cubans and Venezuelans have had to abandon their homelands to escape oppression. And this should not be tolerated."
The comments came during a multination meeting on transitioning Venezuela to democracy, where the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the United States agreed "now is the time to finally end this dictatorship and to safeguard democracy in the region," the White House said in a statement.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza condemned the meeting, calling it "really shameful" and criticized the Latin American countries in attendance for following Trump like he is their "puppeteer."
"Of course they are all really frustrated because they have tried all year long to overthrow our government -- it has been a continuous coup," he said. "They have sanctioned, and they have imposed all these blockades against the Venezuelan people, and they haven't reached their goals, they haven't achieved their own goals. And they won't."
He accused Trump of using Venezuela to distract the American people from reports he asked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.
"We hope that someday the elite that rules the United States learns to respect not only the Venezuela people but all the Latin American peoples and we can have a relationship of mutual respect," he said, adding that they are open to talks with the United States.
"If they respect us, we will respect them," he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also announced an additional $118 million in aid to combat the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis, with $36 million earmarked to help those within the economically crushed country. The rest of the money will go toward Venezuela's neighboring countries that have been dealing with the influx of 4.4 million people who have fled the country in recent years due to economic hardships.
This assistance brings the United State's aid contribution to Venezuela to $568 million since 2017.
"As long as the Maduro regime stands, it will stand between the Venezuelan people and their return to freedom and prosperity," Pompeo said. "The United States, under President Trump, remains a steadfast supporter of the Venezuelan people."
The increase in aid came a day after the State Department announced $52 million in funding support for Guaido's interim government.
The Trump administration also barred senior members of Maduro's government at the level of vice minister and above and their family members for entering the United States. The ban is also enforced for all members of the National Constituent Assembly and all military, police and National Guard members at the rank of colonel and above.
"To the Venezuelans trapped in this nightmare: Please know that all of America is behind you," President Trump said Wednesday during his remarks to the U.N. General Assembly. "We are watching the Venezuela situation closely. We await the day when democracy will be restored, when Venezuela will be free and when liberty will prevail throughout this hemisphere."