NEWARK – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement regarding an announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice to file narco-terrorism charges against Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro and his top officials:
“Nicolás Maduro has made no secret of his regime’s brazen criminality and unchecked violence in order to maintain its white knuckle grip on Venezuela. Today’s announcement by the Department of Justice is further recognition that Maduro is an international criminal, a dictator, and the kingpin of a brutal regime that continues to inflict immeasurable harm on the Venezuelan people.
“However, while Maduro’s depravity is undisputed, these charges alone will not restore democracy in Venezuela nor address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis that has already forced 5 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants to flee their homeland.
“To meet the challenge of this tyrannical dictatorship, the United States must work with our international partners to expand our support for the Venezuelan people and increase humanitarian assistance, especially amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Trump Administration must also lead by example and increase humanitarian protections for Venezuelans fleeing their country, including providing TPS so that Venezuelans in the United States aren’t deported back to face the Maduro regime’s brutality.
“We must never cede critical leverage in our efforts to bring a brazen criminal to justice, but we must also remain focused on the worst humanitarian crisis our hemisphere has ever seen.”