WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the presidential election in Venezuela.
“The election in Venezuela this weekend was a shameful mockery of democracy. Nicolas Maduro’s blatant effort to consolidate a dictatorship will perpetuate the depraved policies that have turned Venezuela into a failed state and should be of concern to those who seek an enduring, peaceful solution to this crisis. With opposition candidates still in jail or forced into exile, widespread voter coercion, and all government institutions subservient to an autocrat, yesterday’s election in Venezuela failed to even remotely meet any international standards and has no credibility.
"Because of Maduro’s self-inflicted political turmoil and his refusal to accept humanitarian assistance, Venezuelans will see no relief from the humanitarian crisis, food shortages and the collapsed medical system that have destroyed the country’s social fabric and created a nightmare situation of historic proportions.
“Nicolas Maduro must not be allowed to believe he can hide from this brazen decision to rob the Venezuelan people of their right to a free and fair election. Beyond universal condemnation, the international community needs to expand coordinated diplomatic pressure on the Maduro regime, including addressing the rampant criminal activities of Venezuelan officials and the growing refugee crisis stemming from a failed economic model. The Trump Administration must work with our partners in the hemisphere and with Congress to formulate a strategy for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.”