Supporting the people of Venezuela as they protest peacefully for democratic change and calling to end the violence.

Bill Number: 
H. RES. 488
Bill Location: 
Date of Last Action: 
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Relevant Text: 

2d SessionH. RES. 488

    Supporting the people of Venezuela as they protest peacefully for democratic change and calling to

    end the violence.


February 25, 2014

    Ms. Ros-Lehtinen (for herself, Mr. Salmon, Mr. Diaz-Balart, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Sires, Mr. Garcia, Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Grayson, Mr. McCaul, Mr. Deutch, Ms. Wilson of Florida, Mr. Murphy of Florida, Mr. Yoho, Mr. Stockman, Mr. Duncan of South Carolina, and Mr. Kinzinger of Illinois) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


    Supporting the people of Venezuela as they protest peacefully for democratic change and calling to

    end the violence.

    Whereas the United States Government should support 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;

    Whereas, on February 12, 2014, also known in Venezuela as the National Youth Day, students began

    protesting in several cities against anti-democratic decisions and the

    crippling economy made by Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro;

    Whereas, on February 12, 2014, a judge issued an arrest warrant for Leopoldo Lopez, leader of the

    opposition party Voluntad Popular, for baseless and unfounded allegations

    in connection with the student protests;

    Whereas, on February 17, 2014, the Government of Venezuela notified the United States Department of

    State that it had declared 3 consular officers at the United States

    Embassy in Venezuela personae non gratae;

    Whereas over the last year, the Government of Venezuela has expelled a total of 8 United States

    Government officials from Venezuela;

    Whereas, on February 18, 2014, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez turned himself in to Venezuelan

    authorities, was arrested, and charged with criminal incitement,

    conspiracy, arson, and intent to damage property;

    Whereas Leopoldo Lopez is currently being held in a prison at a military facility;

    Whereas according to Amnesty International, “The charges brought against Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez smack of a politically

    motivated attempt to silence dissent in the country”;

    Whereas the Venezuelan Government has blocked users’ online images as opposition groups marched

    through Caracas;

    Whereas the Venezuelan people have been protesting economic, social, and political concerns facing

    their country, including corruption, rising inflation rates, unemployment,

    shortages of everyday products, increasing crime rates, and the erosion of

    human rights and respect for political dissent;

    Whereas, on February 19, 2014, President Barack Obama criticized the Venezuelan Government for

    arresting protesters, called for their release, and urged the government

    to focus on the “legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people”;

    Whereas, as of February 20, 2014, there have been 13 people killed, over 100 injured, and many

    persons unjustly detained due to pro-democracy demonstrations throughout


    Whereas Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro threatened to expel the United States news network CNN

    from Venezuela and has taken off the air the Colombian news channel NTN

    24, which transmits in Venezuela, after news outlets reported on the

    nation-wide protests;

    Whereas the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights released a statement on February 14, 2014,

    which “expresses its concern over the serious incidents of violence that have taken place in the context

    of protest demonstrations in Venezuela, as well as other complaints

    concerning acts of censorship against media outlets, attacks on

    organizations that defend human rights, and acts of alleged political

    persecution”; and

    Whereas as a member of the Organization of American States and signatory to the Inter-American

    Democratic Charter, the 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 House of Representatives—

(1) supports the people of Venezuela in their pursuit of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly

to promote democratic principles in Venezuela;

(2) deplores the inexcusable violence perpetrated against opposition leaders and protesters in

Venezuela, and the growing efforts to use politically motivated criminal

charges to intimidate the country's political opposition;

(3) urges responsible nations throughout the international community to stand in solidarity with the

people of Venezuela and to actively encourage a process of dialogue

between the Government of Venezuela and the political opposition to end

the violence;

(4) urges the United States Department of State to work in concert with other countries in the Americas

to take meaningful steps to ensure that basic fundamental freedoms in

Venezuela are in accordance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter and

to strengthen the ability of the Organization of American States (OAS) to

respond to the erosion of democratic norms and institutions in member


(5) urges the United States Department of State to insist that the Secretary General of the OAS

immediately convene the OAS’s Permanent Council to seek the most effective

way to expeditiously end the violence in Venezuela in accordance with the

Inter-American Democratic Charter; and

(6) supports the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in calling upon the Venezuelan Government to “urgently adopt all measures that may be necessary to guarantee the rights to life, humane

treatment, and security, as well as the political rights, the right of

assembly, and the rights of freedom of association and freedom of

expression of everyone under its jurisdiction”.