CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, the House will consider H.Res. 488, a resolution Supporting the people of Venezuela as they protest peacefully for democratic change and calling to end the violence, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on February 25, 2014 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The “resolved” clause of H.Res. 488 establishes that the U.S. House of Representatives: 1) supports the people of Venezuela in their pursuit of freedom of expression and assembly to promote democratic principles in Venezuela; 2) deplores the violence perpetrated against opposition leaders and protestors in Venezuela, and the government’s use of politically-motivated criminal charges to intimidate the country’s oppositions; 3) urges responsible nations throughout the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela and encourages dialogue between the government and opposition; 4) urges the State Department to work with other countries in the Americas to take meaningful steps to ensure basic fundamental freedoms are in accordance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter and to strengthen the ability of the Organization of American States (OAS) to respond to the erosion of democratic norms in member states; 5) urges the State Department to insist that the OAS Secretary General convene the OAS’s Permanent Council to seek the effective way to end the violence in Venezuela; and 6) supports the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in calling upon the Venezuelan Government to “urgently adopt all measures that may be necessary to guarantee the rights to life, humane treatment, and security, as well as the political rights, the right of assembly, and the rights of freedom of association and freedom of expression of everyone under its jurisdiction.”
On February 12, 2014, also known in Venezuela as National Youth Day, students began protesting throughout Venezuela against anti-democratic decisions and the economic decisions of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The same day, a Venezuelan judge ordered the arrest of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader, in connections with the protests. Two people were killed in the protests on the same day. On February 17, 2014, the Government of Venezuela notified the State Department that it had declared three of its consular officers at the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela as personae non gratae. Eight U.S. government officials have been expelled from Venezuela in the last year.
On February 18, Lopez turned himself in to Venezuelan authorities, and was arrested and charged with criminal incitement, conspiracy, arson, and intent to damage property. As of February 20, 2014, thirteen people have been killed and another 100 injured in the protests. President Maduro has threatened to expel CNN from Venezuela, and has already taken Colombian news channels off the air after these networks reported on the protests.
CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would have no significant impact of the federal budget, and would not affect direct spending or revenues.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.