Florida’s delegation in the U.S. House has paired with the state’s two U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–are behind a proposal condemning the upcoming Venezuelan legislative elections.
Last week, Rubio, who sits on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the resolution “condemning the Maduro regime’s ongoing efforts to hold fraudulent legislative elections scheduled for this December” with the support of several senators including Scott and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, the top Democrat on the committee.
“The upcoming fraudulent elections will fail to meet minimal democratic standards and are a direct attack against the nation’s National Assembly, the only remaining democratically-elected institution in Venezuela,” Rubio’s office noted. “The bipartisan resolution recognizes that according to the Venezuelan constitution, and as president of the National Assembly, Interim President Juan Guaidó serves as the nation’s legitimate leader in the absence of a democratically elected president of Venezuela. It also denounces the Maduro regime’s efforts to hold fraudulent elections and reaffirms that U.S. policy towards Venezuela is based on promoting a democratic electoral process where the Venezuelan people can freely elect their leaders.”
Other backers include U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Tim Kaine, D-Va.
“No one should be fooled: Maduro’s objective through these so-called legislative elections is to silence the voices of the members of the democratically-elected National Assembly,” Rubio said after he introduced the resolution on Tuesday. “Following Maduro’s selection of an illegitimate alternative to the National Assembly, and his track record of holding fraudulent elections, the international community must join together in condemning this sham process and support the Venezuelan people.”
“As we continue to fight for free and fair elections in Latin America and around the world, we must recognize Maduro’s sham election as a pathetic attempt by the regime to create the false appearance of democracy,” Scott said. “This is nothing more than a stunt designed to further oppress the Venezuelan people. The United States, and freedom-loving countries around the world, must denounce Maduro’s desperate attempts to cling power, and continue to stand with the people of Venezuela.”
“As the Maduro regime seeks to maintain its grip on power by going after Venezuela’s last surviving democratic institution, this resolution sends a clear bipartisan message rejecting this latest effort to make a mockery of Venezuela’s decimated democracy,” Menendez said. “The world does not need further proof that Venezuelans are desperate for fundamental change away from the Maduro regime and its destruction of their nation. Having already caused the worst humanitarian crisis in our hemisphere, Maduro’s reliance on deceit, repression, and crimes against humanity is only exacerbating Venezuelans’ suffering.”
The resolution was sent to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week and now it’s gaining traction in the House.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., the first member of Congress to be born in South American, introduced the House version of the resolution at the end of last week.
“Maduro has made it clear that under his cruel, narco-regime, no election will be free or fair and this bipartisan resolution is a forceful and direct message that Congress denounces his desperate and unjust power grabs,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “The international community has and continues to condemn these sham elections that are merely a front to further silence the voice of the Venezuelan people yearning for democracy and suffering in a deteriorating humanitarian disaster.”
Retiring U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., is one of the chief backers of the resolution as well. Rooney served as vice chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee when the GOP controlled the chamber.
“Maduro’s continued usurpation of Venezuela’s electoral council, democratically-elected National Assembly, and institutions for the purpose of holding fraudulent elections must come to an end. The Venezuelan people continue to suffer at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime, and they deserve the freedom to choose their leaders in a free and transparent process,” said Rooney. “This bipartisan resolution condemns the illegitimate Maduro regime’s sham electoral process, acknowledges condemnation by the international community, and recognizes Juan Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela’s interim government. I stand with my colleagues in denouncing Maduro’s continued abuses against the Venezuelan people and stand with them in their struggle against tyranny.”
U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Val Demings, D-Fla., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, D-Fla., Lois Frankel, D-Fla., Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Donna Shalala, D-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., Michael Waltz, R-Fla. and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., are also backing the resolution.
“The socialist, authoritarian policies of Nicolas Maduro have destroyed what was once the wealthiest country in South America and created the worst humanitarian crisis the Western Hemisphere has ever seen,” said Shalala. “These upcoming fraudulent elections seek to bury the last vestiges of Venezuela’s once thriving democracy and continue Venezuela’s descent into tyranny. The United States and the international community must continue to decry Maduro’s anti-democratic acts and work alongside the Venezuelan people to help to restore freedom and liberty to their country.”
Mucarsel-Powell’s resolution was sent to the Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.