SUPPORTING A VENEZUELAN DEMOCRACY; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 41
(Senate - March 12, 2014)

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[Page S1595]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                   SUPPORTING A VENEZUELAN DEMOCRACY

  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the Senate proceed 
to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 323, S. Res. 365.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A resolution (S. Res. 365) deploring the violent repression 
     of peaceful demonstrators in Venezuela, calling for full 
     accountability for human rights violations taking place in 
     Venezuela, and supporting the right of the Venezuelan people 
     to the free and peaceful exercise of representative 
     democracy.

  There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the 
resolution.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I would like to express my strong support 
for S. Res. 365, a resolution I cosponsored deploring the violent 
repression of peaceful demonstrators in Venezuela, calling for full 
accountability for human rights violations taking place in Venezuela, 
and supporting the right of the Venezuelan people to the free and 
peaceful exercise of representative democracy.
  Since February 4, 2014, the Venezuelan people have taken to the 
streets on a daily basis to express frustration with the country's high 
inflation, corruption, food shortages, lack of press freedoms, lack of 
due process, violent crime, and other grievances. Addressing these 
legitimate concerns is a basic function of a democratic government. 
Instead, we have seen a crackdown on protests through unlawful use of 
force, a stifling of the media, and the detention of opposition 
leaders. Over 22 people have been killed, hundreds injured, and over 
1,000 people arrested during these protests.
  The Venezuelan Government is an elected government and, as such, it 
should act like a democratic government by immediately addressing the 
core concerns of its people through meaningful dialogue, halting the 
use of force, and providing a safe space for the Venezuelan people to 
express their views peacefully. Without a genuine, transparent 
conversation to address the central concerns raised by the protestors, 
Venezuela faces a bleak future.
  Contrary to comments by the Venezuelan Government, this crisis is not 
about the United States; it is about the Venezuelan people. But the 
crisis does have implications for peace and security in the hemisphere 
and the broader international community. The United States always has 
stood and always will stand for basic freedoms, including freedom of 
speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press. We will not back 
down on protecting and promoting these universal values, nor should the 
international community. It is incumbent upon neighboring countries and 
regional organizations to be vocal during this critical point, to take 
a stand for universal human rights, and to expect the highest level of 
respect for representative democracy from its hemispheric neighbor.
  Today, we see tension and unrest around the world. Each situation is 
unique; however, the desire for fundamental human rights is universally 
recognized. I call on my colleagues and nations around the world to 
stand up for these basic freedoms and support a path toward a stable, 
peaceful, and prosperous Venezuela.
  Mr. CASEY. I ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, 
the preamble 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 resolution (S. Res. 365) was agreed to.
  The preamble was agreed to.
  (The resolution, with its preamble, is printed in today's Record 
under ``Submitted Resolutions.'')

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