SUPPORT FOR FREE AND PEACEFUL DEMOCRACY IN VENEZUELA; Congressional Record Vol. 159, No. 136
(Senate - October 04, 2013)

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[Pages S7213-S7214]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




          SUPPORT FOR FREE AND PEACEFUL DEMOCRACY IN VENEZUELA

  Mr. REID. I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the 
immediate consideration of Calendar No. 201, S. Res. 213.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A resolution (S. Res. 213) expressing support for the free 
     and peaceful exercise of representative democracy in 
     Venezuela and condemning violence and intimidation against 
     the country's political opposition, which had been reported 
     from the Committee on Foreign Relations, with an amendment 
     and an amendment to the preamble and an amendment to the 
     title, as follows:

  (Strike out all after the resolving clause and insert the part 
printed in italic.)
  (Strike the preamble and insert the part printed in italic.)

                              S. Res. 213

       Whereas the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of 
     Venezuela guarantees its citizens full political rights, 
     including the right to freely associate for democratic 
     political purposes, and the right to a secret ballot through 
     regular free, universal, direct elections and referenda;
       Whereas the Preamble of the Charter of the Organization of 
     American States affirms that ``representative democracy is an 
     indispensable condition for the stability, peace and 
     development of the region,'' and Article 1 of the Inter-
     American Democratic Charter recognizes that ``the people of 
     the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments 
     have an obligation to promote and defend it'';
       Whereas the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela 
     declared Nicolas Maduro to have been elected in Venezuela's 
     April 14, 2013, presidential election, with 50.6 percent of 
     votes cast;
       Whereas the Senate of the Republic of Chile, the Christian 
     Democratic Organization of the Americas, the Socialist 
     International, the Union of Latin American parties, and other 
     political organizations in the region issued declarations 
     recognizing the alleged irregularities documented by the 
     opposition in Venezuela and urged a complete audit of the 
     election results;
       Whereas the Supreme Court of Venezuela refused to hear 
     legal cases presented by the political opposition regarding 
     alleged violations of electoral law, and the CNE denied the 
     opposition's request for a full and comprehensive audit of 
     the election results that includes the review and comparison 
     of voter registry log books, vote tallies produced by 
     electronic voting machines, and the paper receipts printed by 
     electronic voting machines;
       Whereas Venezuela's Unified Democratic Platform (MUD) has 
     formally requested the Inter-American Commission on Human 
     Rights to conduct an impartial review of alleged violations 
     of Venezuelans' civic rights through electoral 
     irregularities, voter intimidation, and other abuses in the 
     April 2013 elections, and the Government of Venezuela 
     subsequently announced its withdrawal from the Inter-American 
     Court on Human Rights;
       Whereas, in response to the political opposition's decision 
     not to recognize Nicolas Maduro as President, legislators 
     from opposition parties in Venezuela were denied the right to 
     speak and removed from key committees by the President of the 
     National Assembly, were violently assaulted by members of the 
     ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and 
     increasingly face the prospect of politically-motivated 
     criminal charges;
       Whereas the Congress of the Republic of Peru passed a 
     resolution rejecting the use of violence against opposition 
     parties in the Venezuelan National Assembly and expressing 
     solidarity with those injured by the events of April 2013, 
     and the Department of State responded to the violence against 
     opposition legislators in Venezuela by declaring that 
     ``violence has no place in a representative and democratic 
     system, and is particularly inappropriate in the National 
     Assembly'';
       Whereas the Secretary General of the Organization of 
     American States (OAS) repudiated the incident by stating that 
     it ``reflects, in a dramatic manner, the absence of a 
     political dialogue that can bring tranquility to the citizens 
     and to the members of the different public powers to resolve 
     in a peaceful climate and with everybody's participation the 
     pending matters of the country''; and
       Whereas, as a member of the Organization of American States 
     and signatory to the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the 
     Bolivarian Government of Venezuela has agreed to abide by the 
     principles of constitutional, representative democracy, which 
     include free and fair elections and adherence to its own 
     constitution: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) supports the people of Venezuela in their pursuit of 
     the free exercise of representative democracy as guaranteed 
     by the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;
       (2) deplores the undemocratic denial of the legitimate 
     rights of opposition parliamentarians in Venezuela, the 
     inexcusable violence perpetrated against opposition 
     legislators inside chambers of the National Assembly, and the 
     growing efforts to use politically-motivated criminal charges 
     to intimidate the country's political opposition;
       (3) commends legislators from other countries in the 
     Americas who have declared their opposition to alleged 
     electoral irregularities and condemned the use of violence 
     against opposition parliamentarians in Venezuela;
       (4) urges the Department of State to work in concert with 
     other countries in the Americas to take meaningful steps to 
     ensure the rule of law in Venezuela in accordance with the 
     Inter-American Democratic Charter and to strengthen the 
     ability of the Organization of American States to respond to 
     the erosion of democratic norms and institutions in member 
     states; and
       (5) calls for the United States to work with other 
     countries in the hemisphere to actively encourage a process 
     of dialogue between the Government of Venezuela and the 
     political opposition through the good offices of the 
     Organization of American States so that the voices of all 
     Venezuelans can be taken into account through their country's 
     constitutional institutions and free and fair elections.
       Amend the title so as to read: ``A resolution expressing 
     support for the free and peaceful exercise of representative 
     democracy in Venezuela, condemning violence and intimidation 
     against the country's political opposition, and calling for 
     dialogue between all political actors in the country.''.

[[Page S7214]]

  Mr. REID. I further ask unanimous consent that the committee-reported 
substitute amendment to the resolution be agreed to; the resolution, as 
amended, be agreed to; the amendment to the preamble be agreed to; the 
preamble, as amended, be agreed to; the committee-reported amendment to 
the title be agreed to; and the motions to reconsider be considered 
made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The committee-reported substitute amendment was agreed to.
  The resolution (S. Res. 213), as amended, was agreed to.
  The amendment to the preamble was agreed to.
  The preamble, as amended, was agreed to.
  The committee-reported amendment to the title was agreed to.

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