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Rubio: Venezuela Deserves Free & Fair Elections, A Better Future

Dec 4, 2015 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Republican sponsor of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 that became law, today issued the following statement regarding this Sunday’s legislative elections in Venezuela:
“Venezuela is in crisis. Because of the Chavez and Maduro regimes, Venezuela has deteriorated from a prosperous country to a failed economy, broken society and repressive police state run by narco-traffickers. It’s no surprise that many polls suggest the opposition will win this Sunday’s legislative elections, and even less surprising that Nicolas Maduro’s regime is already threatening to ignore the wishes of the Venezuelan people.
“If Venezuela’s opposition manages to succeed, it will be in spite of all the regime has done to make this election far from being free and fair.  Just last week, an opposition candidate was assassinated while campaigning. Pro-democracy opposition leaders like Leopoldo Lopez, Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma and San Cristóbal Mayor Daniel Ceballos have all been arbitrarily arrested, while others have been disqualified without legitimate cause by an election system and kangaroo courts controlled by the regime. In their desperation to cling to power by any means necessary, the Maduro regime has unleashed an unprecedented wave of repression in Venezuela that has left scores dead, thousands injured and thousands more condemned to being political prisoners. They’ve expelled international media organizations and reporters, blocked credible international election observers, expropriated or shut down the country’s independent news outlets, and illegally wasted Venezuela’s government resources in state-run media campaigns trying to convince people that all is going well, nevermind the poverty, rampant crime and repression that have led to desperation.
“The U.S. and others around the world should watch this election closely because, judging from Maduro’s record and statements, I fear we are on the cusp of another wave of repression and human rights abuses. The Obama Administration has tragically dragged its feet in sanctioning human rights abusers in accordance with the law I pushed for, but there are still many officials throughout the Venezuelan regime that should have their visas denied and financial assets frozen. This should happen immediately.  We must stop toying with the notion that this criminal gang that runs Venezuela can be a viable partner in improving Venezuela’s future.
“The Venezuelan people deserve better than what they’ve gotten so far in this 21st century. I am hopeful that they will soon get it, and I look forward to the day when the U.S. and Venezuela are again strong allies bound together by the principles of freedom, democracy and respect for the rule of law.”