Marco Rubio: It's time to hasten Maduro's exit from power

Venezuela has reached an inflection point for its people and the Western Hemisphere. The crisis in Venezuela is not j...

Posted: Apr 25, 2018 9:38 AM
Updated: Apr 25, 2018 9:38 AM

Venezuela has reached an inflection point for its people and the Western Hemisphere. The crisis in Venezuela is not just a regional irritant. Its socialist government has become a danger to its neighbors and our own national security.

The regime of Venezuelan dictator Nicol-s Maduro threatens US interests. While the Maduro regime has denied such charges, it is a state sponsor of drug trafficking. The United States has sanctioned the country's vice president, calling him a "drug kingpin," and the nephews of the first lady were sentenced last year to 18 years in prison for drug trafficking charges in the United States. The regime provides safe harbor for US-designated foreign terrorist organizations like the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and ELN (National Liberation Army). It has attacked the regional democratic order, and actively allies itself with enemies of the United States, including the Cuban dictatorship, Russia, as well as Iran and Hezbollah.

The spillover effects of the Maduro regime's authoritarian actions are undermining efforts by the United States and its regional partners to promote democracy, human rights and stability in the Western Hemisphere. The Venezuelan dictatorship's corrupt governance, economic mismanagement, and violent suppression of popular dissent have yielded a grave humanitarian crisis of historic proportions. In turn, the destabilizing flow of millions of Venezuelan migrants has strained the resources of surrounding countries like Colombia and Brazil.

While the United States and our partners have repeatedly condemned the Maduro regime and demanded an end to the crisis, we must now follow our words with decisive actions. It is time for the region's democratic nations to work together and hasten Maduro's exit from power.

Earlier this month, I traveled to the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, where the crisis in Venezuela dominated nearly every discussion among our allies. In turn, the United States issued a joint statement with the so-called "Lima Group" of 16 regional neighbors to reject Maduro's plan for a sham presidential vote on May 20. Together, we called unequivocally for free elections and urged the Venezuelan dictatorship to release all political prisoners.

In an ideal world, the Organization of American States (OAS), a group of 34 nations in the Western Hemisphere, would provide the forum to coordinate multilateral action on Venezuela. But a small minority of the OAS's member states remain economically or ideologically aligned with Maduro and are doing all they can to prevent the organization from fulfilling the promise of its charter to protect peace, justice, and solidarity.

As an alternative, I urge the United States to persuade the Lima Group nations and other like-minded neighbors to hold meetings with our respective foreign and finance ministers in May and chart a regional way forward on Venezuela based on three core elements.

First, the United States should work with the Lima Group countries to coordinate their national-level sanctions with our own growing efforts to target the Maduro regime's criminal elements, its access to international banking and financing, and those individuals, shell companies and other entities that it is using to evade foreign financial pressure. The goal is to maximize the pain felt by corrupt, oppressive, and illegitimate government officials in Venezuela who are undermining democracy and human rights, as well as those actors who are keeping them in power.

Second, we should coordinate our efforts to alleviate Venezuela's spiraling humanitarian crisis. As millions of Venezuelans have fled their country to escape starvation, deprivation and violence, neighboring states have borne disproportional burdens and need foreign assistance, including continued aid for migrant programs.

It's critical that we also make clear to the Venezuelan people that food, medicine and international humanitarian aid are ready to be delivered to them in their country, but their dictatorship cynically will not allow it. The Maduro regime should face mounting international pressure to allow humanitarian assistance inside Venezuela's borders, and to let it be distributed by credible charities and nongovernmental organizations.

Finally, we must stand ready to help rebuild a free and democratic Venezuela after Maduro leaves power. We need a multilateral equivalent of the Marshall Plan, the American initiative to rebuild Europe after the end of World War II, for post-Maduro Venezuela. This plan should include investment from the Inter-American Development Bank, which the United States contributes to, and from other international economic organizations aligned with our interests.

At the same time, we must be prepared to help the Venezuelan people to restore their democratic institutions and processes. Given the Maduro regime's efforts to prevent opposition leaders from going abroad to criticize the dictatorship and rally international support, the United States and our regional partners must work to enable all legitimately-elected members of the country's National Assembly the ability to travel freely, including by providing visas and permitting expired passport travel or other alternatives. It also means cooperating with the legitimate constitutional courts of Venezuela that Maduro has undermined.

The crisis in Venezuela has become a complex regional challenge. The United States should therefore persuade our liked-minded neighbors to support a regional solution aimed at increasing pressure on the Maduro regime, alleviating the country's dire humanitarian crisis, and laying the groundwork for international efforts to rebuild a free and democratic post-Maduro Venezuela. It's high time for the democracies of the Western Hemisphere to back up our words of support for the suffering Venezuelan people with decisive, collective action.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
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