Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement that the government of Nicolás Maduro has indicted Venezuelan opposition leader Maria Corina Machado:
“In Venezuela, the courts are rigged, judges are government pawns and justice is impossible to achieve, which is what makes Maria Corina Machado’s indictment such a travesty. The suggestion that she participated in a plot to kill Nicolás Maduro would be laughable except for the fact that the regime is using it as the basis to indict her.
“Maduro’s actions against political opponents like Ms. Machado are possible because of his efforts to subvert the independence of Venezuelan institutions, including the justice system. For example, 80 percent of Venezuelan judges and 95 percent of public prosecutors serve under a provisional status that allows Maduro to appoint them or remove them at his discretion. Other supposedly independent human rights guarantors in the Venezuelan system, such as the ombudsman, have failed to condemn the blatant human rights abuses that have taken place throughout 2014.
“When are the regime thugs responsible for at least 43 deaths and hundreds of injuries in Venezuela this year going to be brought to justice? Before the year ends, Congress should pass the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014. It’s long overdue that the U.S. government impose visa bans and financial asset freezes against people involved in serious human rights violations against peaceful demonstrators in Venezuela, as well as those involved in the arrest or prosecution of a person due to their legitimate exercise of freedom of expression or assembly. The Obama Administration should also use its existing authorities to immediately impose financial sanctions on individuals involved in this travesty, as well as other human rights violations by the Maduro regime since February 2014.”