U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made the following statement regarding Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister's visits to the regimes of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Almost a year after Ahmadinejad's "Tour of Tyrants' trip, it seems that the Syrian regime has followed suit and sent their Deputy Foreign Minister to meet with the tyrannical regimes of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. One state sponsor of terrorism after another continues to receive the royal treatment from these tyrants of Latin America. It is appalling, but not surprising, that these leftist pariah governments openly embrace violent rogue nations that support extremism worldwide.
"Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who has been systematically imprisoning, torturing and murdering tens of thousands of his own people, has sent his envoy to Latin America in hopes of garnering support for his fledgling regime. The increased Iranian and Syrian activity in our own backyard poses a clear and growing threat to U.S. and regional security interests. These rogue states have seized the opportunity to create a platform to disseminate and legitimize their belligerent actions in order to further their cruel political agendas and oppress their own people.
"Chavez and his autocratic cohorts like Ortega, Correa, and the Castro brothers have seen fit to provide the Syrian and Iranian dictatorships with a lifeline to skirt sanctions while thumbing their noses at the U.S. and the rest of the world. It is essential that the U.S. impose stricter sanctions to tighten the noose around these sadistic tyrants and sanction any entity that continues to provide support to these designated state sponsors of terrorism."