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Public Statements

Judeo-Christian Values

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I thank the gentleman from Iowa for yielding me this time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge this legislative body to stand in solidarity with the freedom seekers and the pro-democracy advocates of Venezuela. They have taken to the streets, as you can see in these posters, to demand an end to the rule of Nicolas Maduro's antidemocratic measures and his failed economic policies that have caused a shortage of basic necessities like bread, electricity, and more, despite the vast oil wealth that the nation has.

But the harshest shortage is democracy. These unarmed freedom seekers have predictably been met by the heavy hand of Maduro's state thugs. As the Venezuelan forces have responded with violence, Maduro remains intransigent. He vows to continue to unleash the National Guard on these unarmed protesters under the false pretense of protecting the people of Venezuela.

Montesquieu said that there is no crueller tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice, and that is what we see with Maduro in Venezuela. There have been over a dozen deaths so far, Mr. Speaker, a high number of arrests, including one of the most vocal critics of Maduro, Leopoldo Lopez, who turned himself in even though he is facing serious, trumped-up charges. His case caused Amnesty International to condemn Maduro, saying the charges against Leopoldo Lopez were politically motivated and an attempt to silence dissent in Venezuela. I agree.

I ask my colleagues to be as vocal and as engaged on the crisis of democracy in Venezuela as they have been on the problems in Ukraine. It is vitally important to highlight the democratic struggles of the people of Venezuela, where over a dozen pro-democracy advocates have been killed in the past weeks as Maduro unleashed the thugs in an effort to silence the masses.

The people of Venezuela deserve better than Maduro's abuse of power, his corruption and his antidemocratic measures, and they are pleading for help and looking to the world, turning to the United States, to speak out against these injustices and to help--help them as they fight for their fundamental rights.

The United States must stand with them in this struggle. That is why, Mr. Speaker, I have introduced a bill tonight, H. Res. 488, a resolution that says to the people of Venezuela, to Maduro, and to the world that the United States stands on the side of those who seek liberty and who seek democracy in Venezuela, and that we will not remain silent while those abuses persist.

This resolution also deplores the inexcusable use of violence against opposition leaders and the protesters--many of whom are just students--and the use of intimidation to try to silence dissent. H. Res. 488 also urges responsible nations to not sit quietly by on the sidelines but to instead stand with them in solidarity with the people of Venezuela to actively encourage a process of dialogue to end the violence.

Mr. Speaker, this body must not remain silent on Venezuela. I urge my colleagues to stand in support of freedom, in support of peace, in support of nonviolence, in support of democracy, and in support of those seeking a peaceful, democratic process in Venezuela, and to cosponsor my resolution, H. Res. 488.

I thank the Speaker for the time, and I thank the gentleman from Iowa for yielding me his time.

Thank you, sir.


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