Durbin Statement On Crisis In Venezuela

Senator calls on interim leader to advance a credible transition and election that restores nation’s democracy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today issued the following statement after Juan Guaidó, leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself interim president of Venezuela:

Last year I visited Venezuela and found a country on the verge of political, economic, and humanitarian collapse.  I told then-President Maduro that if he went ahead with a sham election under absurdly rigged conditions he would find his regime even further isolated and in question.  Tragically that is exactly what has happened and why President Trump, Secretary General of the Organization of American States Almagro, and other nations in the region have appropriately recognized National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the constitutionally appropriate leader of Venezuela. 

I met with Guaidó and many of his talented colleagues elected to the National Assembly during my visit.  They are brave patriots who see a more hopeful and democratic future for the Venezuelan people.  That many of them had won their seats in areas originally won by Hugo Chavez spoke volumes of their potential to return Venezuela to the community of Latin American democracies.  I plan to speak with him in the days ahead and offer my support for his pledge to lead a thoughtful, peaceful transition to a legitimate election that meets international standards in the immediate future.

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