Durbin Meets With Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), met with Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López to discuss the ongoing political stalemate in Venezuela and the humanitarian crisis that has forced more than five million refugees and migrants to flee their homes under President Nicolás Maduro’s regime. During their conversation, the Senators received an update on the political negotiations between Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition, led by Interim President Juan Guaidó, in Mexico City and the state and local elections being held this November.

“When I went to Venezuela in 2018, Leopoldo López was shamefully under house arrest by a cowardly regime afraid of competing in a legitimate election.  It was therefore an honor to meet with him to express my support for his and interim President Guaidó’s effort to end the political and humanitarian nightmare that has befallen their country.  It is important that the United States stand firm on seeing free and fair presidential and legislative Venezuelan elections under a credible electoral commission,” said Durbin.  

A photo of the meeting is available here.

Durbin has been an outspoken advocate of immediately granting TPS for eligible Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their home country and to strengthen migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela. After Durbin and Menendez repeatedly made unanimous consent requests to immediately pass the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 on the Senate floor only to be blocked by Senate Republicans in the previous Congress, the new Biden Administration heeded their request to grant temporary protected status for Venezuelans in March 2021.

In 2018, Durbin traveled to Venezuela where he met with then-President Nicolás 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.