U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging the Administration to not recognize the election results in Venezuela. A signed copy of the letter is attached and the text of the letter is below.
April 18, 2013
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I am gravely concerned about the ongoing electoral crisis in Venezuela and urge your Administration to not recognize the election results nor Nicolas Maduro as the next president of Venezuela until a full review and audit are conducted in a transparent manner. Maduro is using his influence over the biased National Electoral Council (CNE) to consolidate power in order to become president while ignoring the will of the Venezuelan people.
At a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, I asked Secretary John Kerry about the crisis in Venezuela and he testified that, "We think there ought to be a recount if there are huge irregularities, we are going to have serious questions about the viability of that government but that evaluation has to be made and I haven't made it yet." According to the opposition in Venezuela, they state that they are in possession of information demonstrating that the results of the April 14 election deserves another review.
Mr. President, I urge you to instruct our Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) to call for an emergency meeting at the OAS and invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Specifically, Article 3 of the Charter which states, "Essential elements of representative democracy include, inter alia, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, access to and the exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law, the holding of periodic, free, and fair elections based on secret balloting and universal suffrage as an expression of the sovereignty of the people, the pluralistic system of political parties and organizations, and the separation of powers and independence of the branches of government."
I also urge your administration to condemn the actions by Maduro to manipulate the democratic institutions in Venezuela to serve his own authoritative aspirations and to interfere with a free, fair, and transparent electoral process. According to reports, Maduro is embedding his own cronies in disguise at peaceful marches in order to incite violence and attempt to undermine Venezuelan civil society. At the same time, regime officials continue to intimidate the opposition by threatening to issue arrest warrants, accusing them of inciting violence. However, the opposition continues to call for peace and non-violent public expressions of support for a review of the electoral results to showcase that the voices of the Venezuelan people deserve to be heard.
The United States must make it clear that we support the people of Venezuela in their pursuit to uphold the rule of law and protect democratic principles. Once again, the Administration must not recognize the results of the elections in Venezuela.
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.
Member of Congress