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VIDEO: On Sunday Shows, Rubio Discusses Democracy & Human Rights in Venezuela, Opportunities To Secure Immigration Deal In Congress

Jan 27, 2019 | Comunicados de Prensa

Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union y NBC’s Meet the Press this morning to discuss the Trump Administration’s strong leadership to support democracy and human rights in Venezuela, as well as the opportunity to reach a deal on immigration and government funding in the upcoming weeks.
VIDEO: On State of the Union, Rubio discusses Trump Administrations Bold Venezuela Policy
Rubio: I don’t think shutdowns are good leverage. It’s a lesson I’ve certainly learned in my time here. There’s been two shutdowns since the time I’ve been here and the aggressor in neither one was the winner. I think it’s important to separate the tactics from the goal and the policy aim, and what the President wants is not unreasonable. It’s a fraction of what Democrats have voted for in the past.

And more importantly, I think at least for me, achieving border security is the key that unlocks the door to doing other things on immigration that he’s expressed a willingness to do — the extension of TPS and dealing with the DACA population. I’ve believe he’s willing to go even further and do something reasonable with people who have been here a long time unlawfully who are not criminals. But all of that is being held up by the inability to get an agreement on border security, which the President campaigned on. So I hope people will separate the tactics from the policy because I think the policy is reasonable and solid.

First of all, we shouldn’t be trading border security for anything because it’s something we’re all for. If you’re for something and I’m for something why do we need to barter and negotiate over it. The second part of it, they don’t have to leverage the President on what to do with people on DACA or TPS because he’s already expressed a willingness to do things on that. And I think people will be surprised at how much this White House is willing to do. Maybe not as far as the Democrats want to go, but how much certainty they’re willing to provide people under DACA, under TPS, people who have been here for a long time who aren’t criminals … if the President can get his primary promise, which should be something we all share, and that is that we want to protect our borders in a way that’s effective. 

And that’s why to me, apart from the fact that we should protect our borders and everyone should be in agreement with that, is the fact that it opens the door to doing much more on these other issues. Finally, a beginning to solve this issue of immigration that for twenty years people have talked about it, but no one has done anything about it.

That’s why I hope, tactics aside, we can all agree that border security is important for America and it creates opportunity to do more on these other issues.

This is not a U.S.-backed anything. I didn’t see any Americans in the street in Venezuela, when hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Venezuelans took to the streets on the 23rd. This is Juan Guaido and the National Assembly, which was lawfully elected under the Constitution of Venezuela. By the way, the Constitution put in place by Hugo Chavez. They followed the Constitution that said the swearing-in in January was invalid because the election that Maduro there was invalid. When there’s a vacancy in the presidency, the president of the National Assembly, which happens to be Juan Guadio, becomes the interim president, and in the next thirty days to forty five days, he has to call for new elections. That was all their law, they followed that. The U.S. simply supported the democratic institutions, along with, by the way, sixteen countries in the region. This is not the U.S. This is Honduras, this is Guatemala, this is Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, et cetera. So this is not a U.S.-sponsored anything. This is us supporting the people of Venezuela who want their Constitution and democracy followed. That’s a fact, and when people choose to ignore it because they don’t like Donald Trump, that’s silly.

I don’t know of anyone who is calling for military intervention. What I’m calling for is for the Constitution to be followed, for military officials in Venezuela and uphold the Constitution they swore allegiance to, for Juan Guaido to be able to act as interim president until we have a new valid election so we can support that new democratic government. That’s what I’m calling for. The United States always retains the right, always, anywhere in the world, in any instance, to protect its national security, so I’m not going to justify military intervention because I don’t know who is calling for that. What I have said is everything is an option, because we always have an option of defending our national security in cases where it’s threatened. Why we should care about Venezuela is a different topic. It is in our national interest to care. Why? They allow the ELN and other drug trafficking networks to flood our country with cocaine and drugs. They have invited the Russians repeatedly to open military installations in our own hemisphere, and they are destabilizing the entire region. Six, seven hundred thousand migrants in Peru, over a million and a half to two million in Colombia. This is a regional catastrophe. Another two million Venezuelans this year could go into different countries, further destabilizing these nations who happen to be allies and key partners in the anti-war, counter-drug effort. So, this is in our national interest to care about what’s happening there , and it’s always in our national interest to support people, especially in our hemisphere, who are putting their lives on the line for democracy.
VIDEO: On Meet the Press, Rubio discusses Trump Administrations Push For Democracy In Venezuela
Rubio: Hopefully it teaches everyone that shutdowns are not good leverage for any negotiation. I think it’s good to separate tactics from the policy aims here. There’s some missed opportunities in all of this. We could have had an extension of TPS, which is a huge issue for people here in Florida for the Haitian community. We could have had a three year extension on that. We could have had people on DACA that could have had three years of certainty – and that’s better than what they face right now. They’re waiting on a court ruling and what the administration is going to do.

Let me answer that in three parts. Number one, I’m not the ouster in chief or anything like it. First of all, the credit belongs to the Venezuelan people who have taken to the streets. This is their movement, this is about them, and they’re the ones who are courageous facing the threat of imprisonment. Number two, the decider here is the President who has never needed any convincing when it comes to Venezuela. Do I offer ideas? Yes, sure. He’s got a great team around him, but ultimately he has never needed convincing and frankly he has raised it with me — the issue of Venezuela — more than I’ve raised it with him. I haven’t had to raise it with him, he cares about this. As far as these analysts saying that there’s no plan behind, how would they know? The Trump Administration is not going to publish a plan, here is what we’re going to do to keep our folks safe. I can tell you I’ve been in contact with the State Department and the people who are in charge and they do have a plan and they have several contingencies to plan on. And the most important of it is, no harm should ever come to these diplomats. Mike Pompeo was very clear about it yesterday, if it does there will be severe consequences. As far as the military option, I don’t know who’s calling for that, I can only tell you and this applies to Venezuela and anywhere in the world: the United States has always had the right to defend its national security and national interests with the use of force if necessary. I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen here, I’m not specifying anything. That’s not my decision to make. I’m telling you, the preferred outcome here is that Maduro leaves and that in 30 or 45 days they call an election and they elect someone democratically and Venezuela returns to constitutional order. That’s what I want.  

Suffice to say, it should be clear by now, and I think should have been clear to people a long time ago that Wikileaks and others like it could have been tools by foreign intelligence used to divide America. So I believe that anyone who is cooperating with them wittingly or unwittingly is doing the work of a foreign intelligence agency to harm us…I can also tell you and, quite frankly I mean this in truth and not in the spirit of nastiness, the media was unwitting in this too. Because the media reported breathlessly on a lot of the revelations that were leaked, that we know were the product of Russian intelligence. I think all of us need to be wiser when we see this thing or when something hits your inbox or another reporters inbox from a third party source where we don’t know who it is. We have to be careful that we are not doing the work of the Russians or some other intelligence agency that is trying to undermine us. We all need to wiser about that moving forward.

But that’s why I’ve supported the special prosecutor and the work they’re doing. I think it’s important for them to finish, we’ll have all of the fact before us, and then we can render judgement. I think it’s a real big mistake, trust me, to jump to any conclusions until Mr. Muellers work is done.