Ahead Of Upcoming National Assembly Elections, Durbin Shares Support For Venezuelan President Juan Guaido

WASHINGTON Ahead of the approaching Venezuelan National Assembly elections on December 6, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke via phone to interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó about the ongoing violent repression and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela caused by the discredited regime of Nicolás Maduro.  During today’s call, Durbin reiterated his support for Guaidó and his constitutional role to help Venezuela return to the community of democracies, and to do so with a thoughtful and timely transition and credible election process in which the Venezuelan people can once again choose their leaders through a fair and transparent process.  Durbin and Guaidó also discussed the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on Venezuela.

“I was honored to speak again with Venezuela’s interim President Guaidó, whom I had the privilege of meeting in Caracas in 2018 before the country’s discredited election.  Now more than two years after that internationally discredited process, it is outrageous that Nicolas Maduro is again pressing ahead with another sham election – this time for the legislature.  What is needed is a credible and fair presidential election,” Durbin said.  “In the face of brutal repression by Maduro and his Cuban and Russian enablers, and now under the strain of a global health pandemic, Juan Guaidó has shown remarkable courage and determination to forge a better future for the Venezuelan people – efforts I will continue to support.  I also made clear to Guaidó that I will continue pushing the Trump Administration to immediately grant TPS for Venezuelan nationals in the United States.”

Durbin and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) have repeatedly made unanimous consent (UC) requests to immediately pass the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 on the Senate floor, but Senate Republicans have blocked every request.  This bipartisan bill passed the House more than three months ago by a vote of 272-158.  This legislation is only needed because the President, who could immediately grant TPS to Venezuelans without Congressional action, refuses to do so.

Last year, Durbin, along with Menendez and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019, a bill to immediately grant TPS for eligible Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their home country and to strengthen migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela. 

In April 2019, Durbin joined Menendez in introducing the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development Act (VERDAD ACT) of 2019.  The legislation significantly increases U.S. humanitarian assistance, expands current tools to address kleptocracy, formally recognizes and supports the Interim President of Venezuela’s efforts to restore democracy and prosperity in the country, and accelerates planning with international financial institutions to advance the country’s post-Maduro reconstruction.

In 2018, Durbin traveled to Venezuela where he met with then-President Nicolas Maduro, members of the opposition including Juan Guaidó, the President of the National Assembly, the Ministers of Health and Nutrition, business leaders, civil society groups, doctors, and humanitarian organizations.