WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement joining a growing group of over 40 countries in rejecting the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn-in this morning for a new six-year term after fraudulent elections.
“Today, Nicolas Maduro loses what little legitimacy he ever had and simply becomes a criminal dictator abusing power at Venezuela’s expense. His continued stranglehold on the country carries grave consequences for the Venezuelan people and the region – an economy destroyed, an expansive humanitarian crisis, an exodus of millions of migrants, crimes against humanity, and unbridled kleptocracy.
“There has been broad bipartisan support for the Administration’s sanctions against the Venezuelan government, but sustained pressure is not a substitute for robust diplomacy. As our closest hemispheric partners in the Lima Group intensify their engagement, it is time for the United States to lead a comprehensive international effort to secure new elections and a democratic transition in Venezuela.
“In the coming weeks, I will re-introduce comprehensive bipartisan legislation to address Venezuela’s collapse and humanitarian crisis, as well as a bipartisan bill to provide Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans in the United States. It is time for the U.S. government to do more to help Maduro’s victims in Venezuela and in the United States.”