Most recently, the US Senate has unanimously condemned the despotism of the Maduro regime in Venezuela by adopting resolution S. Res.35.
This is a most welcome statement since the resolution it expresses concern about the political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The resolution denounces the scarcity of goods and medicines; human rights violations; imprisonment of political opponents; violation of the principle of separation of powers and the rule of law; government elements’ involvement in drug trafficking and money laundry activities; widespread violence and massive human exodus from the country.
Likewise, the Senate statement urges the United States government to support the Organization of American States (OAS)’ efforts to restore democracy and the rule of law in the country and “to instruct appropriate federal agencies to hold officials of the government of Venezuela accountable for violations of United States law and abuses of internationally recognized human rights.”
The bill is now circulating in the US House of Representatives supporting OAS Secretary Luis Almagro in his effort to apply the OAS Democratic charter.
Similarly, last year Almagro not only demanded the application of the OAS ‘s democratic charter but also stated that President Nicolas Maduro must be removed from office.
Most recently, a new confrontation between Almagro and the Maduro Government took place. Early in February, the Secretary not only spoke about applying the OAS Democratic Charter on Venezuela but also announced that he will review the Venezuelan chain of command that has been involved in torture and human rights violations. He also urged general elections in Venezuela in order to enable a transition from an “authoritarian regime to a democratic one.”
Such courageous acts on the part of Almagro have been repudiated by Bolivia, Ecuador, and Cuba. Furthermore, last month, the government of Raul Castro denied an entry visa to Almagro because he accepted an invitation by the family of Osvaldo Paya, a dissident who died in unclear circumstances. Cuba’s repudiation of Almagro was a slap in the face to Obama’s reconciliation policy and a reaffirmation of the Cuban/Venezuelan alliance.
Currently, 30,000 Cuban officers are posted in Venezuela advising the Maduro government on how to consolidate a totalitarian repressive regime. The recently published State Department Human Rights Report on Venezuela claims that human rights abuses includes politization of the judiciary to undermine legislative branch action;, intimidation and arbitrary prosecution of critics; “indiscriminate police action against civilians leading to widespread arbitrary detentions, unlawful deprivation of life, and torture; and government curtailment of freedom of expression and of the press. Likewise, “ the government… did not permit judges to act according to the law without fear of retaliation. At times the government blocked media outlets and harassed and intimidated privately owned television stations, other media outlets, and journalists throughout the year using threats, fines, property seizures, arrests, criminal investigations, and prosecutions”.
The report cites sources from NGO’s and other agencies that reported:
“[E]xtrajudicial killings by police and security forces; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions and lack of due process rights that contributed to widespread violence, riots, injuries, and deaths in prisons; inadequate juvenile detention centers; corruption and impunity in the police; arbitrary arrests and detentions; abuse of political prisoners; interference with privacy rights; lack of government respect for freedom of assembly; lack of protection for Colombian migrants; corruption at all levels of government; threats against domestic NGOs; violence against women; employment discrimination based on political preference; and restrictions on workers’ right of association”
The bi-partisan Senate resolution awaiting now approval in the House sends a clear message that it repudiates the Venezuelan government and supports Almagro’s efforts to bring about the end of the Maduro regime in Venezuela and the restoration of a full fledge democracy in the Caribbean country.
However, it is not accompanied by any effective sanctions that can help Almagro’s objectives.
The resolution fails to call for the cessation of U.S transactions with Venezuela’s oil company PDVSA and apply other sanctions against the political and military leadership in Venezuela.
Currently, the US is the largest customer of a regime of human rights violators mixed up with Iran and narco-terrorists. Such action is in all likelihood to be tacitly supported by the OAS. The peoples of Latin America are waiting for U.S action that can confront dictatorship up front. Likewise, such action is in the interest of the United States as it is directly confronting a regime that endangers its national security.
We see no reason why not to remove such a rogue element from the Western Hemisphere.