Engagement with the Chavez Regime Is Counterproductive, State’s Actions Undermine U.S. Foreign Policy Interests

Jan 4, 2013 Issues: Foreign Affairs


Washington, DC – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) made the following comment regarding reports of the Department of State engaging the Venezuelan regime of Hugo Chavez. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen

“It is very troubling but not surprising that, once again, the Department of State looks to cozy up with yet another tyrant in the Western Hemisphere. Chavez and his cohorts have a long and nefarious track record of supporting illicit activities such as drug trafficking, aiding the Iranian and Syrian regimes, violent extremist groups, and suppressing human rights.

State’s policy of engaging bad actors while ignoring their abusive power grabs and oppression of civil society only encourages rogue regimes’ to continue their unlawful and unconstitutional actions. This approach has failed with regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Ecuador but the Department of State does not learn from its mistakes.

The Obama Administration’s continued policy of appeasing tyrants who undermine democratic principles does nothing to advance our national interest nor does it benefit the Venezuelan people. The U.S. must support true democratic reforms in Venezuela and urge the immediate rejection of transnational illicit networks before any further engagement with the Chavez regime takes place.”

NOTE: Recent media reports have suggested that senior State Department officials have spoken with Chavez’s likely successor, Nicolas Maduro, in efforts to open a dialogue with the Chavez regime.