March 12, 2014 - Issue: Vol. 160, No. 41 — Daily Edition113th Congress (2013 - 2014) - 2nd Session
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.'') ____________________