Over the past few months, I have observed with great concern the disintegration of democratic order in Venezuela. At the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, I heard from Venezuelan parliamentarians who described how President Nicolas Maduro’s government has progressively undermined Venezuelans’ democratic and human rights.
I want to condemn in the strongest terms the fraudulent July 30 election of a constituent assembly in Venezuela, and the recent middle-of-the-night arrests of opposition leaders. The Maduro regime’s attempts to consolidate and maintain its grip on power has reached a new low.
The Maduro regime has willfully and consistently ignored and violated the Venezuelan constitution and international law. Despite repeated calls by members of the Organization of American States and the international community, including Canada, to cancel the national constituent assembly, the Maduro regime has moved farther down the path of institutionalized authoritarianism in Venezuela.
In the words of Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, who has been a leader in addressing this issue, “The Maduro government’s campaign of repression is unacceptable. We urge the Venezuelan government to respect the autonomy and authority of the national assembly and other independent institutions.”
In the aftermath of the fraudulent July 30 election, I am gravely concerned by the increase in repression by the Venezuelan government. The unlawful detention of Venezuelan opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Leopoldo López, taken from their homes during the night, is further proof of the regime’s goal of dictatorship.
I commend the courage of all Venezuelans who continue to stand up for their democratic rights, and call for the immediate release of all political prisoners, the restoration of Venezuelans’ constitutional rights, and free and fair elections.
More information on the crisis in Venezuela can be found here.