Durbin Hosts Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Bipartisan Senators

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today convened a meeting of bipartisan senators, including Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro to discuss a number of issues in Latin America, including the need for a political resolution to deteriorating events in Venezuela, the ongoing electoral impasse in Haiti, and the critical work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
“I’ve been impressed with Secretary General Almagro’s determined and fair leadership on helping the people of Venezuela find a peaceful solution to the deeply troubling and antidemocratic events bringing that proud nation to the verge of economic and political collapse,” said Durbin. “What is happening in Venezuela is a tragedy not only for the Venezuelan people, but for all the OAS member states who bear the responsibility to help.  It has nothing to do with ideology or foreign interference—the December legislative elections offered an opportunity to democratically resolve the country’s crisis, but Venezuela’s leaders have thus far squandered that opportunity. As such, I support Secretary Almagro’s efforts to secure the release of all Venezuelan political prisoners and to protect Venezuelans’ right to peacefully pursue a recall effort if so desired.”
Earlier this year, Durbin led a letter calling for all charges and restrictions to be dropped against Venezuelan Judge María Lourdes Afiuni who was jailed in 2009 for her judicial independence. She was assaulted in prison and today remains under severe government restrictions.  Durbin also urged the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights to investigate the suspicious death of Cuban democracy activist Oswaldo Payá.