U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., the first member of Congress ever born in South America, is pushing the U.S. State Department for more efforts against the Maduro regime in Venezuela.
Two weeks ago, the congresswoman sent a letter to U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo “expressing her deep concern over the lack of a clear strategy in prioritizing help for the Venezuelan people as they face a political, economic and humanitarian crisis.”
After not getting a reply from the State Department, on Wednesday, Mucarsel-Powell expressed her frustrations and called on Pompeo to work with Congress on crafting a strategy.
“It has been a year since Juan Guaidó was recognized by 65 countries, including the United States, as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela, yet Maduro still sits in Miraflores,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “The lack of strategy and transparency from the Trump administration has done little to address one of the worst humanitarian crises in our hemisphere or to reassure the more than two hundred thousand Venezuelans in Florida that the administration is taking this seriously.
“That is why I am continuing to call on Secretary Pompeo to work with Congress to craft a clear and robust long-term strategy for helping Venezuela’s safe return to a true democracy. I have helped lead the effort to secure humanitarian aid for Venezuela, to extend TPS to Venezuelans, and stand ready to assist in any other way I can,” she added.
Like the Trump administration and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, Mucarsel-Powell recognizes Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president. Guaidó is scheduled to meet with Mucasrel-Powell on Saturday in Miami.
On Wednesday, the congresswoman’s office released the letter she sent to Pompeo on January 14. It reads as follows:
Dear Secretary Pompeo:
I write to express my deep concern over the lack of a clear strategy from this Administration regarding the crisis happening in Venezuela. It has been a year since Juan Guaidó was recognized by 65 countries, including the United States, as the legitimate interim president, and yet Nicolás Maduro is still in power. Maduro’s regime plunged Venezuela into a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis rarely seen in the Western Hemisphere with over 3.4 million Venezuelans already having fled their homes to escape the growing emergency.
I understand that you will be addressing the Chairman and members of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) this Friday to discuss the situation in Venezuela. It is imperative that Members of Congress are included in these conversations. My colleagues and I led the effort to secure $400 million in aid to the Venezuelan people and neighboring countries that have taken many of them in as refugees. Additionally, we passed the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 in the House to ensure Venezuelans in the United States are not forced to return to a country facing a clear emergency. We are unfortunately still waiting on the Senate to act.
At the same time, we have yet to use every diplomatic tool available to exert pressure on those supporting Maduro, like the regimes in Russia, Turkey, and Cuba. Promoting a safer world and standing up for the most vulnerable populations lie at heart of American values. Given the grave state of affairs in Venezuela and lack of advancement, it is crucial that we use our influence to demand that these regimes immediately cease their support of Maduro.
It is unclear what comes next for the country and government of Venezuela. What is clear, however, is that we must stand together to prioritize helping Venezuelans return to a stable and thriving democracy.
I urge you and the President to work with Congress to craft a clear and robust long-term strategy for helping Venezuela’s safe return to a true democracy and that you ask the Senate to pass the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019. I stand ready to assist in any way I can.
Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.