Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Connie Mack (FL-14) released the following statement in response to the increased violence occurring in Venezuela in the lead up to that country's October 7th presidential election.
Mack stated: "Violence has no place in democracy. Democracy allows citizens of a nation to have an opinion, express that opinion through a ballot box, and ensure peaceful transitions between government leaders.
"My thoughts are with those who have been injured while reaching out to the Venezuelan population to explain a political platform. I call on the Obama Administration to be unequivocal in its denouncement of this violence. The Administration should be clear in its message that Venezuelans must be allowed to have free and fair elections without fear for their safety and that fraudulent elections will stand in the way of productive U.S.-Venezuela relations.
"With dedication, democracy can overcome those who threaten violence, and I urge all people to express their opinions through the ballot box on October 7th."
Three additional acts of violence against opposition candidates have occurred, most recently on September 3rd when four people were shot after gunfire erupted during a voting drill. In July, when stone-throwing Chavez supporters clashed with opposition sympathizers in a poor Caracas neighborhood. And on March 4, when violence and gunfire erupted during an opposition campaign stop in a traditionally pro-Chavez neighborhood in Caracas, injuring one supporter of the opposition.