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Senate Passes Venezuela Resolution as Crisis Deepens

Feb 28, 2017 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution today introduced by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) expressing its profound concern about the ongoing political, economic, social, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, urging the immediate release of political prisoners, and calling for respect of constitutional and democratic processes. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and David Purdue (R-GA) joined as original co-sponsors.

The resolution also affirms its support for the efforts of Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro and encourages OAS member states to take additional steps to address the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

The situation in Venezuela has continued to deteriorate. President Maduro’s government failed to meet its commitments under a Vatican-sponsored dialogue, opposition leaders and supporters remain political prisoners, and the quality of life for average Venezuelans continues to decline rapidly.

“I thank my Senate colleagues for supporting this bipartisan resolution calling for the government of Venezuela to respect the constitutional and democratic processes and release all political prisoners,” said Rubio. “America must continue to support the people of Venezuela, and I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to fully implement the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Extension Act. Venezuelan officials who break the law and violate the rights of the Venezuelan people must be held accountable.”

“The longer President Maduro and his government remain intransigent in their backward, law-breaking positions, the longer the Venezuelan people will suffer,” said Cardin. “Our resolution sends a clear signal to Mr. Maduro that he must urgently allow for international humanitarian relief to protect and save Venezuelan lives. We also call on the Venezuelan government to take overdue steps to address corruption and criminality, ensure human rights, free political prisoners, and restore respect for its own Constitution.”

“Venezuela is headed for catastrophe. We can see it in the long lines, blackouts, and civil unrest plaguing the country, and yet the Maduro government continues to ignore the countless calls for adherence to democratic norms and respect for civil liberties,” said Durbin. “Today, the United States Senate stands with the people of Venezuela, who continue to pay the price of their government’s obstinate refusal to change course.”