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Public Statements

Supporting the People of Venezuela as They Protest Peacefully for Democratic Change

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House Resolution 488, and I thank my south Florida colleague and friend, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, for her leadership in introducing this measure and giving us an opportunity to stand with the people of Venezuela.

I stand in solidarity with my colleagues and the people of Venezuela to condemn the deplorable, horrific, and inexcusable violence the Maduro regime has perpetrated against its own citizens. Brave activists have taken to the streets in Venezuela to demand basic freedoms from an increasingly repressive government. These are students, lawyers, and average citizens simply asking their government to respect their basic human and democratic rights.

Since his election, President Maduro's economic and political policies have driven Venezuela's economy into the ground. His attempts to silence these outcries have not worked, and they will not work. Despite jailing leading opposition voices and expelling independent media voices, the world is watching and listening, and we still hear the calls loud and clear for democracy, for governance, and reform.

President Maduro's ridiculous accusations about United States involvement in fomenting unrest will prove to be a grossly failed attempt to distract from his own shortcomings in serving his people. We will not allow his rhetoric to try to blame the United States for what is a clear struggle between his repressive policies and the legitimate demands of his people.

My hometown of Weston is often affectionately known as ``Westonzuela.'' Just yesterday, I spoke with community leaders in south Florida--many of them my neighbors, my friends, my constituents--about the fear and horrors that family members and their friends are experiencing.

This resolution calls upon the government of Venezuela to respect the principles enshrined in its own governing documents as well as those in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights--including freedoms of speech and the press.

This resolution affirms what we know to be true: that the best way to address the legitimate grievances of the people is through genuine dialogue between all parties involved. It calls for our country to work with our partners in the Western Hemisphere and through regional organizations to help facilitate this dialogue and, importantly, to do everything possible to cease this senseless violence and create the space for peace. This resolution reflects that we stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela.


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