Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today met with democracy and human rights leaders from Venezuela in the U.S. Capitol. The Senators hosted Lilian Tintori, wife of imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López; Mitzy Capriles, wife of imprisoned Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma; and Tamara Suju, International Director of a leading Venezuelan human rights organization, Foro Penal.
“I was humbled and honored to meet with these courageous leaders who want nothing more than a better future for Venezuela that the current regime’s corruption and incompetence cannot achieve,” said Rubio. “They deserve the U.S.’s strong support, as well as more robust implementation of the sanctions law Congress passed targeting the financial assets and visas of human rights violators in the regime.
“In the near future, we expect Leopoldo Lopez to be condemned by a kangaroo court controlled by Nicolas Maduro’s regime. The U.S. and all true democracies of the Western Hemisphere and the world should condemn his imprisonment and call for his immediate release,” added Rubio. “Later this year, a critical moment will come when Venezuela holds legislative elections that we fully expect the Maduro regime to try to undermine and outright steal. The U.S. must lead a movement of free and democratic societies calling for a fully free and fair election that gives the people of Venezuela an opportunity to hold the Maduro regime accountable for its incompetence, as well as the murder and repression of innocent Venezuelans.”
“My support for political prisoners held unjustly by President Maduro and sympathy for the spouses and supporters of these innocent leaders is boundless,” said Menendez. “The struggles Leopoldo Lopez and Mayor Antonio Ledezma are enduring is a fight embraced by all who value democracy and human rights, and reject the suppression of universal freedoms. President Maduro’s repressive government and ruinous policies are failing the Venezuelan people and unjustly silencing opposing voices. With a growing number of legislators and former heads of state from throughout the hemisphere increasingly speaking out against the many failings of the Maduro government, it is imperative that current Presidents of Latin America join the chorus of growing voices that support freedom in Venezuela.
“Additionally, as the Venezuelan people prepare for elections later this year and seek a democratic resolution of the country’s political crisis, they need the full support of the international community. I urge incoming Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro to do everything possible to promote a free, fair and transparent electoral process in Venezuela,” Menendez added.
Photos of the meeting are available below, and can be viewed in higher quality here.