Wasserman Schultz, Salazar Condemn Recent Assault on Venezuelan Democracy
We strongly condemn the decision by Venezuela's regime-controlled court to suspend the democratic opposition's primary election process, which mobilized 2.4 million Venezuelan voters who nominated María Corina Machado as the opposition candidate for the 2024 presidential election.
Washington DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Venezuela Democracy Caucus, was joined by Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, in the releasing the following joint statement in response to recent developments in Venezuela:
"We strongly condemn the decision by Venezuela's regime-controlled court to suspend the democratic opposition's primary election process, which mobilized 2.4 million Venezuelan voters who nominated María Corina Machado as the opposition candidate for the 2024 presidential election. This assault on democracy is a severe breach of democratic principles and a clear violation of the Maduro regime's recent agreement with the opposition Unitary Platform and the Biden Administration.”
"The criminalization of this legitimate political process, which was overseen by independent election observers and coordinated in compliance with international norms, reflects a well-established pattern of disdain for genuine electoral independence and repression of political opponents, as illustrated by the regime’s ban on opposition candidates and parties.
"The court's requirement that the independent National Primary Commission turn over documents identifying Venezuelan voters is especially grave, considering the regime's history of retaliating against dissent through arbitrary imprisonment, extrajudicial killings, torture, marginalization, and denial of social services. We are horrified by the prospect that Venezuelan Americans who participated in the primary vote, including many of our constituents, could become targets of the regime.
"The Biden Administration should use all available tools to enforce the terms of the October 17 agreement, which promised the reimposition of sanctions in the event of a violation, and ensure that Ms. Machado has the opportunity to run in a free, fair election. Every effort must be undertaken to protect Venezuelan voters, including Venezuelan Americans, from retaliation for exercising their right to vote.”
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