Ros-Lehtinen Takes to the House Floor to Denounce Ongoing Crisis in Venezuela Created by the Maduro Regime
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) made the following statement on the House Floor regarding the ongoing economic and political crises in Venezuela, in addition to the Maduro regime’s continued violation of human rights.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen (as delivered):
“Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker and I rise today to discuss the current ongoing crisis in Venezuela due to the incompetence of its leader Nicolas Maduro.
No matter what Maduro says, the crisis is his fault, not the fault of the U.S. Not the fault of the Organization of American States.
Maduro, and his corrupt cronies are the ones to blame for this disaster.
No one else.
And while the Obama administration has sometimes tried to concede to the Maduro regime, it has only been reciprocated with no real positive change or any way forward by Maduro.
Even now, the U.S. Embassy in Caracas has had to suspend appointments for Venezuelans seeking first-time tourist and business visas due to staff shortages that it blames on Nicolas Maduro.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg Mr. Speaker.
For a country that is rich in oil reserves, it is a sign of incompetence and corruption that Venezuela is struggling with empty grocery stores, shortages of medicine, high inflation, and a plummeting economy.
Now Maduro is trying desperately to receive assistance from other countries to save his corrupt regime.
India has offered medicine in exchange for Venezuelan oil.
China may offer loans to Venezuela in exchange for oil.
But these attempts are possibly too late and Venezuela may not be able to survive this incredible economic downward spiral.
To put it simply Mr. Speaker: Venezuela is on the verge of total collapse.
And what an impact that will have throughout our hemisphere.
It is not a matter of if – it is a matter of when.
On top of that, Venezuela is also facing medical shortages that have become a humanitarian crisis.
Recently, a group of Venezuelan legislative members were in DC meeting with us to ask for humanitarian assistance for their people and medical supplies to take care of the sick in Venezuela.
Now, these members are the opposition of Nicolas Maduro but they know that Maduro doesn’t care about helping the people so they are rising up to the chore.
The Venezuelan Medical Federation has asked the Maduro regime to accept humanitarian aid to handle the massive shortagea of medicine in the country.
A request that has not been agreed upon by Maduro.
The Venezuelan Neurology Society reported that the shortagea of medicines for neurological conditions has reached around 90 percent.
The Venezuelan National Assembly has declared a "humanitarian health crisis" that includes the lack of 872 essential medications.
In April, the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional reported that the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation declared that the shortages of medicine in pharmacies has reached 85 percent.
The lack of medicine, Mr. Speaker, impacts people from all walks of life: from the elderly, to the sick, to the mentally ill, to the children who cannot receive life-saving care.
Individuals with serious illnesses have to go from pharmacy to pharmacy looking for the medicines and if they don’t find it, they either have leave the country or try to smuggle it in through the underground black market.
The situation in Venezuela can also quickly become more violent and even more dangerous if the crisis is not resolved quickly.
Maduro has issued emergency decrees – even though the National Assembly rejected it - that will help him consolidate even more of his power.
Power? Maduro doesn’t care about food and medicine for the people. All he cares about is having more power.
Last week, Venezuela launched its biggest military exercise – who is invading Venezuela? Why did he do it? - to scare the population, to show the Venezuelan people his military might to prevent any protests by the people.
At the same time, the Venezuelan National Assembly has called for its own country to be suspended from the Organization of American States.
The crisis in Venezuela must wake up others in the region.
The new leaders of Argentina and Brazil are needed to bring the southern cone together in the name of regional stability.
And where is the leadership in the United States? President Obama has yet to add more names of human rights violators in Venezuela. Adding names would prevent them from coming to the United States.
This is a list that is based on a law that I passed along with my Senate colleague, Senator Marco Rubio. That law is going to expire. We need to extend it a few more years because those rights are being violated every day.
So I talked about the economic hardships but let’s talk about the political and human rights violations that are going on every day in Maduro’s Venezuela. They are committed by the Maduro regime.
The unconscionable, continued imprisonment of Leopoldo Lopez and scores of pro-democracy activists. The dire situation in Venezuela, Mr. Speaker, is out of control.
Let’s see what we can do because the Venezuelan people deserve better than a corrupt Maduro.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.”
On the House Floor, Ros-Lehtinen Stands Against Arbitrary Arrests of The Ladies In White’s Berta Soler and Other Cuban Pro-Democracy Leaders by the Castro Regime
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) made the following statement on the House Floor regarding the arbitrary arrest of Ladies in White Leader Berta Soler and others by the Castro regime for exercising their democratic rights.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen (as delivered):
“Thank you Mr. Speaker, it should come as no surprise that President Obama has just agreed to arm communist Vietnam and that he continues to extend diplomatic niceties and concessions to authoritarian regimes that show no intention of changing their brutal tactics.
These overtures to the Castros in Cuba have resulted in a prominent human rights defender – Berta Soler, right here in this poster, the leader of the peaceful pro-democracy group, Ladies in White, Las Damas De Blanco– and 27 others being arrested this week and facing charges of resistance.
Because only in communist regimes and under ruthless dictatorships is non-violent opposition to the regime considered a crime.
Peaceful dissidence, resistance, is a crime in Cuba.
For all the engagement – the concession after concession to the ruthless dictatorship – it has not moved the Castros even one inch toward freedom, toward human rights, toward the rule of law, toward democracy.
The people of Cuba deserve better. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.”
Standing Up for South Florida Veterans, Ros-Lehtinen Supports Several Bills to Increase Benefits for Our Nation’s Heroes
“From caring for veterans in their later years to helping them transition to civilian life, we must ensure that their needs are taken care of at any age.”
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) supported several bills which would expand benefits for our nation’s heroes. The bills are:
· H.R. 2460, which would allow for adult day care services for veterans who are eligible for those services but do not currently receive them;
· H.R. 3989, the Support Our Military Caregivers Act, which would help determine which caregivers can join in the Family Caregiver Program in order to care for as many veterans as possible and allow for an external review of applications that were denied;
· H.R. 3956, the VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act, which would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to hire medical directors for VA centers which currently have acting or temporary directors; and
· H.R. 5229, the Improving Transition Programs for All Veterans Act, which would examine the effectiveness of programs to help service members’ transition to civilian life.
Ros-Lehtinen has a long record of fighting for veterans issues. Her husband, Dexter, volunteered for service in Vietnam and was severely wounded in combat as an Army Ranger. Her stepson, Doug, and daughter-in-law, Lindsay, were Marine aviators in Iraq. Lindsay also served in Afghanistan and both continue to serve our nation as Marine reservists.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“South Florida’s heroes deserve the maximum amount of benefits we can provide them for the sacrifices they have made. From caring for veterans in their later years to helping them transition to civilian life, we must ensure that their needs are taken care of at any age. Veterans’ issues are personal for my family and I work every day to help guarantee that those who served our nation have the care and resources they need.”
En El Día De La Independencia Cubana, Ros-Lehtinen Renueva El Llamado Por La Democracia En La Isla
(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidente del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, hizo la siguiente declaración hoy en el aniversario de la Independencia de Cuba. Destacó Ros-Lehtinen:
Para todos los cubanos alrededor del mundo el 20 de mayo de 2016 es un día de emociones mixtas. Hace ciento catorce años, Cuba logró alcanzar su independencia. Después de décadas de guerra para lograr liberar a su patria de la corona española, por primera vez, los cubanos tuvieron el derecho de crear con libertad la trayectoria de sus vidas y el futuro de su nación. Sin embargo, solo medio siglo después de haber alcanzado su independencia, Cuba una vez más se encontró en cadenas, bajo el puño de la dictadura de Castro.
Hace más de un siglo, Jose Martí, Antonio Maceo, Calixto García y miles de otros mambises sacrificaron sus vidas por una causa noble. Su esperanza era que de su sacrificio emergería una sociedad libre y democrática donde hombres y mujeres de todos los ámbitos de vida pudieran reunirse, libres de opresores, para crear un mejor futuro para su patria. Tristemente, los cubanos todavía siguen peleando la misma batalla que los mambises lucharon hace tantos años. Hoy, el régimen de Castro celebra el Día de la Independencia asfixiando los derechos y la dignidad de su pueblo; y reprimiendo violentamente a los desafortunados que viven bajo su mandato. Todo esto, en un esfuerzo patético y desesperado para aferrarse a las riendas del poder. Debemos continuar apoyando a los valientes cubanos que siguen peleando para mantener viva la llama de la libertad y la democracia en su patria nativa, para que un día todos los cubanos puedan celebrar su independencia bajo el estandarte de la libertad.Read More
On Cuban Independence Day, Ros-Lehtinen Renews Call for Democracy on the Island
(Washington, DC) - U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) made the following statement on the anniversary of Cuban Independence Day. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
For Cubans and those of Cuban heritage around the world, May 20th is a bittersweet day. One hundred and fourteen years ago, Cuba gained its independence. After decades of fighting to free their homeland from Spain, Cubans for the first time, had the right to freely craft the path of their lives and the future of their nation. However, just half a century after independence, Cuba again found itself in darkness under the veil of the Castro dictatorship.
More than a century ago, Jose Marti, Antonio Maceo, Calixto Garcia, and thousands of other brave mambises sacrificed their lives for a noble idea. Their hope was that out of their sacrifice would emerge a free and democratic society, where men and women of all walks of life could come together, free from oppressors, to create a better future for their homeland. Sadly, Cubans are still engaged in the same battle that the mambises fought so many decades ago. Today, the Castro regime celebrates Independence Day by suffocating the rights and dignity of its people and violently suppressing those unfortunate enough to live under their rule in a desperate effort to hold on to the reins of power. We must continue to stand with those brave Cubans who are fighting to keep the flame of liberty and democracy alive in their homeland so that one day all Cubans will truly be able to celebrate Cuba’s independence under the banner of freedom.Read More
Ros-Lehtinen Votes Against Inadequate Funding Package, Continues to Demand an Effective and Responsible Federal Government Response to Zika threat
“Half-measures are simply unacceptable for the millions of South Floridians who are depending on their government to take effective action. The only acceptable solution to this threat is a comprehensive response that limits the spread of this virus as quickly as possible.”
(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen voted against an inadequate measure in the House of Representatives last night that would have provided only limited and time-restricted funding for Zika virus prevention. Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, along with several of her House colleagues from Florida, including Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Vern Buchanan, also agree that the House package does not go far enough to meet the potential challenges awaiting South Florida and the rest of the nation in stopping the virus’s spread. Given the Centers for Disease Control’s statements that Zika is spread through sexual transmission and via Aedes mosquito bites, this virus continues to pose a potentially serious threat to public health in South Florida.
Ros-Lehtinen continues to demand a proactive and responsible federal government response to better prepare our community in South Florida for a possible continued increase in Zika virus cases. Ever since the possibility of a serious outbreak of Zika virus in the United States emerged earlier this year, Ros-Lehtinen has consistently supported effective and decisive action to reduce invasive mosquito populations, contain the spread of the virus, and minimize human health impacts in South Florida and throughout the United States. Ros-Lehtinen was an early supporter of adding Zika virus to the FDA’s Priority Review Voucher Program to jumpstart the development of treatments and a vaccine, as well as providing relevant federal Departments and Agencies with the flexibility to utilize unspent Ebola response funds for Zika preparedness as the President has recently begun to implement.
Statement by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen:
"South Florida remains the most likely U.S. metropolitan area to be significantly impacted by Zika virus in the near future. Half-measures are simply unacceptable for the millions of South Floridians who are depending on their government to take effective action. The only acceptable solution to this threat is a comprehensive response that limits the spread of this virus as quickly as possible. I will continue to work with my Congressional colleagues to ensure our community gets the resources necessary to minimize human health impacts.”
Ros-Lehtinen’s Bipartisan Measure Urging Germany to Honor Its Obligations, Fully Fund Holocaust Survivors’ Medical, Mental and Home Care Needs Passes Out of Foreign Affairs Committee
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement today after a measure she authored – H.Con.Res. 129 – urging the German government to fulfill its moral obligations to Holocaust survivors and urgently and directly provide the financial resources necessary to ensure that survivors may live in dignity and comfort in their remaining years, passed unanimously out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Germany is a close U.S. ally, and since the 1950s, it has accepted its moral responsibility to Holocaust survivors. However, even by its own admission, the German government’s efforts to address the medical, mental and home care needs of all Holocaust survivors have been woefully inadequate. Nearly half of all survivors worldwide live at or below the poverty level and have little time to continue to wait for the bureaucracy and cut through the red tape. Survivors deserve better than that; they deserve to live out their days in dignity and comfort, and that is why my bipartisan resolution urging the German government to honor its obligations to Holocaust survivors and fully and immediately fund survivors’ needs passed unanimously out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I will continue to fight for all Holocaust survivors until they get the justice they so rightly deserve and I look forward to the swift passage on the House Floor of the resolution that my friend, Congressman Ted Deutch, and I have authored.”
Ros-Lehtinen, Deutch, Granger and Lowey Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Urging Expedited Completion of New, Robust and Long-Term Memorandum of Understanding on U.S. Military Assistance to Israel
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, introduced H. Res. 729, expressing support for the expeditious consideration and finalization of a new, robust and long-term Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on military assistance to Israel between the United States Government and the Government of Israel.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“The United States has no greater friend and ally than the democratic Jewish State of Israel. But our major strategic partner is under constant threat in a region marred with terror, violence and instability – all of which are ever present on Israel’s borders. Ensuring Israel maintains its QME is not only U.S. policy, but it is our law. A new MoU between the United States and Israel is needed to help guarantee Israel’s safety and security in the face of these new threats and challenges. That is why it is incumbent upon the Obama administration to conclude a new, robust and long-term MoU with Israel that will increase the amount of assistance over the current agreement, expand its scope, and to do so expeditiously. We stand ready and willing to work with the administration to make sure that this priority is addressed in a manner that is mutually beneficial for the U.S. and our ally, Israel.”
Statement by Deutch:
“The Memorandum of Understanding between our countries forms the backbone of the U.S.-Israel security relationship. Prompt completion of a new agreement will significantly enhance Israel’s ability to defend herself against all threats and deepen our cooperation to ensure Israel’s safety and security for years to come. This bipartisan resolution reaffirms the long-standing Congressional commitment to strengthening the U.S. – Israel relationship.”
Statement by Granger:
“It is vital that the U.S finalize a new, strong Memorandum of Understanding with Israel as soon as possible. Israel faces constant threats that are increasing due to instability in the Middle East and we must provide our closest ally with the support they need to defend themselves. Completion of a long-term MoU will ensure that Israel has that support.”
Statement by Lowey:
“This bipartisan resolution reaffirms the unshakable commitment of the United States to Israel’s security and sends a strong message of support for finalizing a new Memorandum of Understanding between our governments. Without a doubt, the political, security, and economic interests of the United States and Israel are fundamentally enhanced by continued cooperation that strengthens stability and security in the region and bolsters the longstanding, bilateral relationship that exists between our two countries.”
Working to Make South Florida a Safer Place to Live, Ros-Lehtinen Supports Bills Combating Opioid Abuse
“Implementing necessary safeguards against opioid abuse while offering safe and effective treatment options are just some commonsense measures we can take to make South Florida safer.”
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) was proud to support several bills that would help combat opioid abuse throughout our nation and also make South Florida a better place to live. The bills are:
· the Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act, which directs the Controller General to determine our nation's in-patient and out-patient capacity, availability, and needs;
· the Opioid Review Modernization Act, which would require the Food and Drug Administration to seek recommendations from a committee of experts before approving opioids without “abuse-deterrent properties;” and
· the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act, which would create a $103 million program administered by the Department of Justice in order to provide grants to state and local government to reduce opioid abuse.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Our nation faces an epidemic of abuse – from opioids to meth and other drugs – which we must work against. Implementing necessary safeguards against opioid abuse while offering safe and effective treatment options are just some commonsense measures we can take to make South Florida safer. We must stop this epidemic before it negatively impacts any more Americans.”
2206 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
I am proud to represent Florida’s 27th Congressional District, a diverse area which includes Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Key Biscayne, Little Havana, Miami, Pinecrest, South Miami, and Westchester.
I was born in Havana, Cuba on July 1952. At the age of eight, my family and I were forced to flee from the oppressive communist regime of Fidel Castro. We settled in Miami and put down permanent roots in our community. I attended Southside Elementary School in Little Havana, West Miami Junior High, and Southwest High School. In the years following, I earned an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade Community College in 1972, Bachelors and Masters Degree in Education from Florida International University in 1975 and 1985 respectively, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Miami in 2004. I consider education a lifelong journey.
I began my career as a Florida certified teacher. I also founded and served as the principal and teacher of a private bilingual elementary school in Hialeah. I was inspired to enter public service by many of the parents and students; to fight on their behalf for a stronger educational system, lower taxes, and a brighter economic future.
In 1982 I was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida Senate in 1986, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in either body. In the state legislature I authored the Florida Prepaid College Plan, which is now the largest pre paid college tuition program in the nation. More than one million Florida families have used this program to send their children to college.
I was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989– the first Hispanic woman to serve in Congress–following a special election to fill the seat held by the late Claude Pepper. I have been strongly returned to Congress since, winning 60% of the vote in 2012.
To this day, I remain committed to improving the lives of my constituents and our beautiful South Florida community. As the economy remains a pressing issue, I support reducing taxes and cutting back unnecessary government spending. I also support plans to balance the federal budget and increase tax incentives for small businesses and middle class families. South Florida has also felt the devastating effects of the housing crisis. I have fought to end predatory lending practices by mortgage companies and extend the first time homebuyers tax credit.
Given my background in education, I have worked to strengthen the Head Start program. I have also supported legislation to increase the availability to student financial aid and revise the cumbersome and complicated Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) process.
I am a strong advocate of programs that address the serious problem of domestic violence against women. I was a lead sponsor of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which increases resources towards the prosecution of domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault. I also support legislation to increase criminal penalties for perpetrators of Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud is a deplorable practice which robs hardworking seniors of the benefits they spent a lifetime earning, while also wasting billions in taxpayer dollars.
As the wife of a Vietnam veteran and step-mother to Marine aviators, I am passionate about improving our nation’s military, safeguarding veteran’s health care, and ensuring that returning veterans have access to a college education. I have been an outspoken critic of the Miami VA’s recent failures to notify veterans who were at risk of infection, due to contaminated colonoscopy equipment. I also authored legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). These women pioneers had been denied recognition for their service during World War II.
I am Chairman emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and am now Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. In this role, I continue to voice my strong support for the state of Israel and human rights, including my opposition to Castro’s dictatorial regime in Cuba. I have also led on pressing foreign policy issues including the fight against Islamist extremism, and support of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
I also serve as a member of the House Committee on Rules. This Committee decides what legislation makes it to the House floor and its members are chosen by the Speaker of the House. My priorities as a member of this Committee is to get our nation’s economy back on track and ensure passage of legislation that betters the state of our nation.
I am the proud wife to Dexter Lehtinen, mother and step-mother to 4 adult children, and grandmother to two beautiful baby girls – Morgan Elizabeth and Caroline Grace.
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