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Cardin, Cassidy, Rubio Statement on the Maduro Regime’s Political Persecution

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued a joint statement regarding Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s ongoing persecution of human rights and political activists, ahead of the July 28th presidential election. The Maduro regime continues to target the leading Venezuelan opposition leader María Corina Machado and her team as part of their crackdown on civil society.

"A marked increase in the persecution of civil society, human rights defenders, and political activists in Venezuela in recent months is both unacceptable and detrimental to Venezuelan democracy, particularly ahead of the July 28th election," said the senators. "The ongoing political persecution of Maria Corina Machado and her team, the arrest of members of her campaign, the refusal to provide safe passage out of the country for democratic opposition members that have sought refuge in the Argentine embassy, the repeated transfer of political prisoners from house detention to centers with brutal human rights conditions, and recent reports of torture against military political prisoners are just some examples. These actions directly undermine conditions required for a free and fair presidential election."

"We strongly condemn this dangerous environment of intimidation, which erodes the credibility of the ongoing electoral process, leaving us with little doubt that the July 28th election will not meet conditions to be free, fair, nor democratic. We also call for the immediate closure of all political prisons and torture centers in Venezuela, as well as the immediate release of all political prisoners," continued the senators. "It is critical that the Biden administration impose individual sanctions on officials involved in detaining, trying, and torturing political prisoners in Venezuela, including judges, clerks, prison guards, interrogators, and anyone who played a role in such actions."