WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, along with original co-sponsors U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), introduced a resolution Thursday expressing the Senate’s 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.
The resolution also affirms its support for the efforts of Organization of American States Secretary General, Luis Almagro, to address the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
“There is great suffering and a complete lack of governance occurring across Venezuela today because President Maduro’s government has allowed a political crisis to devolve into a crisis of human survival,” Cardin said. “The United States Senate must send a clear message to President Maduro that accepting humanitarian aid, releasing political prisoners, entering into a dialogue with the opposition, and respecting the democratic institutions of his country are essential elements to resolving Venezuela’s crisis. As long as rampant government corruption and criminal violence flourish in the country, Venezuelans will be denied the basic human rights to which they are entitled.”
“Venezuela is falling apart because of Nicolas Maduro’s incompetence and repression. I continue to be very concerned about the basic food and medicine shortages faced by the people of Venezuela and call for its government to immediately release all political prisoners, provide protections for freedom of expression and assembly, and to respect human rights,” Rubio said. “I urge President Obama to support OAS efforts in favor of constitutional and democratic solutions, and to fully implement the sanctions law we recently extended.”
“The awful human toll of the crisis in Venezuela continues to mount, but the government has turned its back on its people. Despite starvation, violence, power blackouts, and countless calls from within the country and around the world, the government refuses to change its increasingly deadly course. Sadly, it’s the men, women, and children of Venezuela who are paying the price,” Durbin said. “The Senate must stand with the people of Venezuela and demand that the government release all political prisoners and end deliberate delays in the country’s recall process as allowed for in the Venezuelan constitution if that is what the Venezuelan people choose to pursue.”
“Venezuela is a failed state in the waiting. There is a humanitarian and constitutional crisis, an ongoing social and economic crisis, and a breakdown in the rule of law, that threatens the health and welfare of innocent Venezuelans suffering not only the brutal violence of President Maduro’s security forces and armed pro-government supporters, but a breakdown of society and a lack of basic food and medicine,” Menendez said. With this resolution, we stand with the Venezuelan people and against the principal actors responsible for the destruction of liberty, human rights, the rule of law which threaten to make Venezuela the first failed state in our hemisphere.”
“The Venezuelan people continue to suffer at the hands of the Maduro Government. It’s time to end this prolonged crisis, release political prisoners and give the Venezuelan people the rights and freedoms they deserve,” Nelson said.
“The authoritarian regime in Venezuela has plunged its country into deep economic and social unrest, with its people facing drastic shortages in essential needs like food and medicine,” Kaine said. “Venezuelans have the right to peacefully protest these conditions and make their will heard through democratic and constitutional mechanisms. I support the efforts of Secretary General Almagro at the Organization of American States to facilitate an assessment of the situation and a regional dialogue to address this crisis. The Maduro government should urgently release political prisoners and permit the delivery of critical humanitarian aid. This bipartisan resolution stands on the side of democracy and the well-being of the people of Venezuela.”