“I welcome the agreement between the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime as a first step towards restoring democracy in Venezuela,” said Chair Cardin
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement following the announcement of a deal reached in Barbados by the Venezuelan opposition’s Unitary Platform and the regime of Nicolás Maduro to establish a framework for democratic elections in Venezuela.
“I welcome the agreement between the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime as a first step towards restoring democracy in Venezuela. Implementation of this agreement will lay the groundwork for more competitive presidential elections in Venezuela next year, and must include the reinstatement of electoral eligibility of all opposition candidates, conditions for campaigning freely, and independent international election observation. But make no mistake—continued diplomatic efforts by the international community will be urgently needed to resolve the complex humanitarian and political crisis that has led to the exodus of more than 7 million Venezuelans from their homeland.
“Today’s announcement by the Biden administration also demonstrates how the United States can leverage sanctions strategically to incentivize breakthroughs in negotiations that would otherwise be unlikely to occur. To this end, I support the Biden administration’s efforts to offer limited sanctions relief conditioned on the Maduro regime promptly complying with commitments to allow for competitive elections in 2024. I urge the administration to make it unequivocally clear that any attempt to go against the letter and spirit of this agreement will result in an immediate re-imposition of U.S. sanctions. I also urge the administration to continue to work towards the unconditional release of all wrongfully detained Americans in Venezuela.
“As the United States and the international community supports this diplomatic breakthrough, we cannot forget that much more remains to be done to protect the human rights of Venezuelans, who continue to live under the rule of a regime credibly accused of crimes against humanity. The international community must continue to push for accountability for human rights violations and the release of all Venezuelan political prisoners.”