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E-Newsletter: Venezuela Sanctions Bill Holding Maduro Regime Accountable Clears First Legislative Hurdle

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Dear Friends,

For three months now, the Maduro regime in Venezuela has committed grave human rights violations as it seeks to muzzle students who are peaceful and the Venezuelan people who are calling for the respect of human rights and democracy to take hold in this country.

There have been over 40 people killed; nearly 60 reported cases of torture; more than 2,000 people unjustly detained; and hundreds more injured.

Let's look at what has happened recently: 250 teenage protesters, ones who had camped out in public squares to protest, were rounded up at 3 in the morning yesterday; the Venezuelan Intelligence agency, SEBIN, picked up and has put in detention Rodrigo Diamanti, the leader of a NGO called Un Mundo Sin Mordaza; censorship continues as yet another prominent independent radio program was pulled off the airwaves; newspapers like El Universal are saying they have about two weeks left of newsprint because the government has put many challenges in their way to provide information to the people of Venezuela. And lastly, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was supposed to have his day in court and all of a sudden, his hearing was simply postponed without reason, without discussion, no explanation, simply canceled.

Even with all this repression, we must recognize the students and student unions on several of the campuses in Venezuela for continuing to show bravery and courage to fight for democracy and freedom of expression.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee showed their support for the people of Venezuela, in one bipartisan voice they condemned the human rights violations occurring in Venezuela. Passage of my bill, H.R. 4587 -- the Venezuela Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act -- from the committee sends a strong message to Maduro that the United States Congress is well aware of the ongoing abuses perpetuated by his regime, and that they will not go unpunished. I thank my colleagues on the committee for supporting the legislation and I will continue my unwavering support of the people of Venezuela in their quest for freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights.

This is a step in the right direction and now we need to work to pass my legislation in the House of Representatives. Maduro and his officials must be held responsible for human rights violations in Venezuela.


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