Maduro Bullies OAS Members Into Silencing Venezuelan Opposition Leader Maria Corina Machado, Says Ros-Lehtinen

Mar 21, 2014

Maduro Bullies OAS Members Into Silencing Venezuelan Opposition Leader Maria Corina Machado, Says Ros-Lehtinen

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on the attempts by the Maduro regime to silence Venezuelan opposition leader and legislator Maria Corina Machado today at an ordinary session of the Organization of American States (OAS). Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

"Today’s actions by the Maduro regime at the OAS are despicable. These bullies have shown that they’re willing to kill in order to silence popular protests in their country, and now they’ve shown that they are happy to silence in the U.S. those who demand respect for human rights at an international body tasked with defending democracy.

“The government of Panama commendably is seeking to allow Maria Corina to speak about the human rights violations occurring in Venezuela. Not surprisingly, the Nicaraguan representative moved to make the meeting private, leading to the press and general public being kicked out. Then the Venezuelan representative successfully moved to remove from the agenda any discussion of the crisis in Venezuela, preventing Maria Corina from speaking up to this moment. This shameless obstruction shows how the OAS has been hijacked by repressive leaders and is miserably failing in fulfilling its original mission.   
 
“What does the Maduro regime have to hide? Diosdado Cabello – one of Venezuela’s most dangerous goons – has threatened that Maria Corina may be arrested and charged with bogus accusations just like with Leopoldo Lopez and local mayors. Responsible nations in the Hemisphere must act to hold Maduro regime officials accountable for the atrocities they’ve committed. Secretary of State John Kerry has illustrated his willingness to work through the OAS body to resolve the crisis in Venezuela but today’s shameful display of autocratic actions once again reaffirms that the U.S. must lead to protect human rights and we cannot rely on this broken body to stand up for democratic ideals.”