On June 8, the 30-member U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) released the following statement on the current situation in Venezuela:
“The situation in Venezuela has deteriorated substantially in the past year. During this time, Nicolás Maduro has steadily undermined Venezuela’s democratic institutions. He has thwarted the Venezuelan people’s efforts to initiate a recall referendum, he has delayed gubernatorial elections, and his handpicked Supreme Court has stripped key powers from the Venezuelan legislature. In his continued efforts to avoid elections, Maduro launched an unconstitutional and undemocratic effort to further consolidate power by convening a sham Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution by his handpicked supporters. As a result of his actions, the Venezuelan people have been effectively denied their fundamental right to choose their government.
“The human rights and humanitarian situation in Venezuela is critical. But as a result of the Maduro government’s corrupt and inept economic management, the Venezuelan people are suffering from widespread food shortages and lack of access to medicine. President Maduro has brutally repressed the protests that have taken place almost every day in recent weeks; his security forces and armed government supporters have killed dozens in the streets. As a result of these conditions, increasing numbers of Venezuelans have fled the country, seeking refuge in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Spain, the United States, and other countries.
“We call on the government of Venezuela to immediately release political prisoners, set a clear timetable for elections, and accept humanitarian assistance. We recognize the leadership of Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and other countries in the Western Hemisphere in pressing for a solution to the crisis in Venezuela. We urge all countries in the Western Hemisphere to support multilateral efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Venezuela. The Organization of American States and its Secretary General Luis Almagro has insisted that Venezuela promptly free all political prisoners, accepts humanitarian aid, and holds elections without delay. The United Nations Security Council recently held a closed-door session to discuss the deepening crisis. We urge the President to continue to work with regional partners toward a peaceful, democratic, and constitutional resolution of the dire situation in Venezuela, and to increase U.S. support for those countries that have received significant numbers of Venezuelan refugees.”
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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.
Carlos Paz Jr.