By U.S. Senator Robert Menendez
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I am truly alarmed by the speed at which President Maduro is eliminating the remaining vestiges of democracy in Venezuela. The removal of three elected members of Venezuela’s National Assembly – Maria Corina Machado being the most recent – is blatantly unconstitutional and nothing short of authoritarian. The silencing of opposition voices in the National Assembly marks yet another sad episode for Venezuelans seeking to enjoy the freedom of a functioning democracy.
I call on leaders throughout the hemisphere and around the globe to condemn President Maduro’s illegitimate and undemocratic actions. As we await the results of the visit to Caracas by foreign ministers of South American countries, it is my hope that they will demand decisive steps to secure the release of all political prisoners, prevent future arrests of opposition leaders and halt further attacks against political opponents.
Finally, it is my sincere desire that the ambassadors to the Organization of American States live up to the expectations of their citizens by taking a stronger stance in defense of human rights and democracy in Venezuela.