Sunday, March 9, 2014

Venezuela: US House of Representatives Introduces HR 488, Supporting the Venezuelan People

According to The Latin American Tribune, the US House of Representatives has passed House Resolution 488, which supports the people of Venezuela as they protest peacefully for democratic change amidst calls for an end to the violence. 

The bipartisan legislation was authored by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and was passed overwhelmingly by an unprecedented vote in the House of 393-1.

“In recent weeks, Venezuela has been rocked by nationwide protests against the government of the late Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA). 

"These began as student protests against rampant street crime. But they have since evolved to be a referendum on the government’s statist and destructive economic policies, and its near elimination of civil societies’ freedom." 

COMMENT: For those of us who cannot remember back to the 1990s, please keep in mind that the last time there was in Venezuela a truly and fairly democratically elected president was in 1998, some 16 years ago.

Consider this:

After Hugo Rafaél Chávez Frías orchestrated a coup d'etat in Venezuela in 1992, for which he was briefly imprisoned and ultimately rewarded in wearing the presidential sash in 1999, he went on to establish his own form of a Havana-style socialist state that eventually collapsed under its own weight.

Having spawned a police force that was both corrupt and ideologically based, Chávez went on to nationalize private companies that permitted him to stay in office by becoming a populist leader.

In time, Chávez' perverted social experiment, enhanced by his hand-picked successor, Nicolás Maduro, emerged as having one of the highest crime rates in all of Latin America, country-wide food shortages, a devalued currency, suppression of the media and wholesale human rights violations.   

“Nicolas Maduro and his henchman have been brutally repressing those who seek freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights in Venezuela for weeks now without being held accountable for their actions," said Ros-Lehtinen after the passage of the Resolution. 

"I’m pleased to see that the House overwhelmingly passed my resolution tonight, and that we are unified in support of these peaceful protesters. Our work is not yet done. The solidarity is warranted, and now it must be backed up by action to help save the lives of the suffering people of Venezuela," Representative Ros-Lehtinen said.

“I’m circulating among my colleagues a letter addressed to President Obama urging him to take immediate punitive measures against Maduro and Venezuelan officials responsible for these gross violations of human rights being committed against these protesters. 

This letter asks the President to impose sanctions under authorities granted to him under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), including denying these abusers visas to enter the United States, blocking their property and freezing their assets in the US, and prohibiting them from making any financial transactions within our borders. The time is right for the Administration to act, and it must act now.”