Feb 20 2014
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding the ongoing crisis in Venezuela:
“The situation in Venezuela is growing more violent and deadly, as innocent Venezuelans demanding their freedoms and greater accountability from the government are being met with government-organized armed repression and violence.
“I am sickened by the images I’ve seen of young people being maimed, jailed and even killed by Nicolás Maduro’s thugs. The world is watching, and every government-backed thug thinking about carrying out orders against innocent Venezuelans should really think about the eventual consequences that will come with their actions. There are cameras everywhere, and they will be held accountable for following the orders of an increasingly illegitimate government that’s proving it can only remain in power through repression and violence.
“America should not stand idly as Venezuela’s government tramples on the Inter-American Democratic Charter that all nations in our hemisphere, except Cuba, have endorsed. I am troubled about the failure of other democratically elected governments in Latin America to publicly stand by the mass peaceful demonstrations of students and other civilians and against Maduro’s government’s brutal repression of the marchers.
“As pro-democracy leader Leopoldo Lopez sits in jail, we should demand his immediate and unconditional release, along with others who have been unjustly imprisoned for demonstrating against the Venezuelan government. We should demand that the government refrain from attacking its opponents.
“The Administration should use every diplomatic means necessary to draw attention to the courageous efforts of Venezuelans, the cowardice of Maduro’s government, and impose sanctions on those planning and actively participating in repressive and violent acts.
“I’m glad President Obama finally spoke about the situation yesterday, and he should take concrete actions that make clear we stand for peace in Venezuela and against a government that represses its people. He should make clear his support for the Global Human Rights Act, which awaits for Congress’ approval and would provide his administration with additional means to combat gross human rights violations like what we’ve seen in Venezuela.
“I am proud to represent a state where thousands have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the situation in Venezuela and be a voice to the world for those who Nicolás Maduro’s government seeks to silence. With several peaceful demonstrations planned across Florida this weekend, I stand in solidarity with those efforts and with the courageous people in Venezuela who want a better future for themselves and their country.”