Latest News

On Anniversary Of Venezuela Protests, Rubio Stands In Solidarity With Venezuelan People

Feb 12, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement marking the second anniversary of peaceful human rights protests in Venezuela that were met with murder, political arrests and violence by the Maduro regime:
“On the second anniversary of the start of widespread demonstrations in Venezuela, we remember the 43 innocent people who were killed by Venezuelan security forces and stand with all those who spoke out for a better life than the one provided by the Maduro government’s disastrous policies.
“We should never forget that when innocent Venezuelans spoke out peacefully, the Venezuelan government responded with harsh repression.  International human rights groups documented thousands of arbitrary arrests, beatings, and even torture, as well as 43 people killed by Venezuelan security forces.  Many came at the hands of the so-called colectivos, roving bands of thugs armed by the government to terrorize civilians.
“Incredibly, over the last two years, the situation for the average Venezuelan has only grown worse, with Venezuela suffering from the highest inflation rate in the world, shortages of the most basic consumer goods, and appalling levels of street crime.
“We recently witnessed the Venezuelan opposition’s landslide victory in legislative elections this past December, but their hard work is only beginning.  Through executive decrees and spurious legal attacks, the Maduro government has systematically undercut the will of the Venezuelan people by attempting to cripple the opposition’s ability to exercise their constitutional duties.
“The ongoing disaster in Venezuela is a direct result of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy’s abandonment of U.S. leadership and the downgrading of human rights and democracy as a U.S. priority in the Americas.  In our region as elsewhere, they have rushed to embrace non-democratic foes and abandoned our truest pro-democracy friends. 
“We need to stand with the new, democratically elected majority in the National Assembly, as they struggle to assert an authority granted by the Venezuelan people but thwarted by Maduro’s cynical and unconstitutional manipulation.  We need to continue to pressure the corrupt members of the Maduro government, through the tools provided in the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 that I coauthored.  Many Venezuelan officials continue to be involved in human rights abuses and undermine the democratic process, yet their families enjoy the creature comforts of access to the United States.
“On this day, we think of those lost over the last two years and those who still suffer behind bars.  We also commit to redouble our efforts to support the Venezuelan people, who continue to want a better life for themselves and for their children.”