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On Senate Floor, Rubio Outlines the Path to Democracy in Venezuela

Apr 19, 2018 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke on the Senate floor today to outline actions the United States and its partners must take to hasten the emergence of a post-Maduro Venezuela and restore democracy to the country.
Last week, Rubio travelled to the Summit of the Americas where he co-hosted a press conference and met with regional leaders about the Venezuelan crisis. Rubio also met with Venezuelan opposition leaders.
Excerpts of Rubio’s remarks on the Senate floor today are below:
We have reached an inflection point now. Statements, letters, communiques are fine, but the time to act is now because people are dying. They are starving to death. The humanitarian crisis alone compels us to take action. So the question people pose to me is “What can we do?”

Number one is collectively we must announce that we are going to continue to increase in a multi-lateral the pressure on the Maduro regime. And the way we should do that is by coordinating these national level sanctions that target Maduro regime criminal elements. Target these drug traffickers. Target the people that are trafficking the food and controlling the food distribution for their own purposes. Target their shell companies that they are using to make money and store their money and hide their money. If all of these nations did that, encompassing the U.S. financial sector, the Brazilian, the Colombian, the Panamanian banking sector, which would be critical in this. It would provide increasing pressure on that regime and on Maduro’s loyalists to break. The goal is to maximize the pain felt by these corrupt, oppressive and illegitimate government officials.
The second thing we need to do is we must address the humanitarian crisis that is spiraling out of control. As I said already, three to four million Venezuelans have fled their country to escape starvation, deprivation, violence. Neighboring states are bearing the disproportional burdens and they need help in doing so. And I think we need to continue to provide that assistance. But ultimately, the answer to Venezuela’s future is not outside of Venezuela, it is inside of it. And that is why it is my hope that the priority of this new group, the Lima group plus at least one—the United States—would be to happen open up a humanitarian corridor that allows food and medicine to go inside of Venezuela. And it can be distributed by a non-government organization. Put the Catholic Church in charge or the Red Cross.

The third thing that we need to be doing as part of this plan is preparing to help rebuild the free and democratic Venezuela after Maduro leaves power. The third thing that I hope that this gathering will reach is a consensus and an agreement that we will set up the equivalent of a Venezuelan Marshall Plan that includes investment from the Inter-American Development Bank, significant contributions from the United States and our partners to help go in and rebuild the disaster and catastrophe that the Maduro regime will leave behind.

The dictatorship in Venezuela knows, and the people that surround Nicolas Maduro know that they are on borrowed time. It is our obligation to expedite that, not through a military intervention, not through just simple unilateral sanctions, which I support and we’re prepared to continue to do. But ideally through an international, multinational regional effort in which the United States is a partner with our allies in the region to continue to pressure the regime with sanctions, to deliver humanitarian aid inside and outside of Venezuela, and to create the mechanisms to rebuild that country’s institutions and its economy.