Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Representing the 25th District of FLORIDA

Diaz-Balart Condemns Maduro Assault on Democracy and Calls on Obama, OAS to Hold Regime Accountable

Oct 21, 2016
Press Release

MIAMI – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement calling on the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Obama administration to hold the Maduro regime accountable for ending the referendum campaign in Venezuela, persecuting the opposition, and widespread human rights violations.

“The Maduro regime’s decision to halt the referendum campaign and further persecute the opposition is a direct assault on democracy and the fundamental rights of the Venezuelan people. Rule of law, judicial institutions, independent media and civil society have been assailed, while opposition leaders are repressed and imprisoned.  The laws passed by the National Assembly are systematically ignored. 

“Following numerous failures of diplomacy and dialogue, these and other egregious violations constitute an impairment of democratic and constitutional order which demands immediate consequences under the Inter-American Democratic Charter.  The OAS Secretary General already invoked Article 20 of the Charter in May and issued a scathing report condemning the Maduro regime’s mounting failures.  His report recommended that a referendum take place this year.  However, little action was taken by the OAS members and the situation in Venezuela has further declined. 

“At the OAS, the United States should demand measures to hold the Maduro regime accountable, and restore democracy and constitutional order in Venezuela.  In the U.S., the Obama administration must vigorously enforce sanctions provided by Congress in the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act, which Congress extended earlier this year.  As the act provides, anyone who participates in human rights abuses must face tough consequences. 

“The Maduro regime has propelled a once prosperous nation into a downward spiral that is having calamitous consequences for the Venezuelan people. Sadly, the resource-rich nation of Venezuela is suffering from a rapidly contracting economy with skyrocketing inflation that has compounded the Venezuelan people’s suffering. By blocking the referendum and cracking down on the opposition, the Maduro regime shows that it is exceedingly weak and would not survive a challenge.  We must not allow this blatant power grab and shameful assault on democracy to stand.”