As efforts began to topple the regime on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., took to the House floor to make it clear military intervention should be an option in Venezuela if Nicolas Maduro is unwilling to relinquish power. She told the Venezuelan dictator “basta”–Spanish for “enough.”
“There is a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and it is man-made. My view is simple: the people of Venezuela will not prosper as long as the Maduro regime remains in power,” Murphy said.
As others in the Florida delegation, including the state’s two U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Reps. Darren Soto, D-Fla. and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., have taken the lead on the crisis in Venezuela, Murphy has largely remained mostly silent and overshadowed. But on Tuesday, she grew louder on the subject, making it clear military intervention should be an option, singling out Maduro for abuses of power.
“It has proven itself to be cruel, incompetent, and anti-democratic. Ideally, the regime will go peacefully, but it must go. The United States cannot be passive. We must stand behind the proud Venezuelan patriots that have taken to the streets and are struggling to reclaim the country from the regime that is destroying it,” Murphy said.
Murphy, whose profile has increased since Democrats took over the House after the 2018 elections, did not directly call for an invasion but did say the Maduro regime should be ready to “suffer the consequences” if it targets its own citizens with violence.
“We must be ready to support these brave men and women with all elements of American power, always working alongside our partners in Latin America. The Venezuelan people need to know that we have their backs,” she said.
In her speech on Tuesday, Murphy did not mention the touchy issue of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans in the United States, something Democrats have been pushing President Donald Trump to accept. So far, Trump has not been willing to have the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant displaced Venezuelans TPS. Murphy is cosponsoring a bill offering TPS for Venezuelan exiles.
The Central Florida Democrat ended her speech with a direct message to the Venezuelan people, telling them “fuerta” which is Spanish for “be strong.”
Reach Mike Synan at Mike.Synan@floridadaily.com.