U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, will participate on Tuesday in a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee on challenges to democracy in the hemisphere. In addition to several Latin America experts, the witnesses include former President of Colombia Álvaro Uribe. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I look forward to participating in next week's subcommittee hearing on the challenges to democracy in the hemisphere, where we'll have the privilege of hearing from President Uribe. In addition to leading the effort to accomplish the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Uribe led an aggressive and effective campaign against the FARC, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that has brought great violence and suffering to Colombia and the region. This is the same organization that is now engaging the government of Colombia in peace talks hosted by Cuba, a U.S.-designated State Sponsor of Terrorism, and one of the world's worst violators of human rights. These talks must be seen for what they are: just another political charade by the Castro regime to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the world and distract from its abuses.
"Additionally, I look forward to asking the witnesses about the continued assault on democracy by the regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua, where the fraudulently held elections continue to deprive millions of their democratic rights and fundamental freedoms. We must sound the alarm on these despots, whose abuses undermine the interests of the U.S. and the democratic aspirations of peoples throughout the hemisphere."