I would like to make you aware that Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has authored a bill HR 4587 that would impose targeted sanctions on Venezuela. I urge you to oppose this bill and support Rep. John Conyers letter opposing any kind of sanctions on Venezuela.
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen is taking advantage of recent protests in Venezuela to launch this campaign against the Venezuelan elected government. This is not a spontaneous wave of student protests, but a planned campaign organized by radical rightwing opposition leaders including Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado. On January 23, Lopez and Machado launched their “La Salida” (“The Exit”) campaign with a press conference. They stated that the goal is the ouster of the democratically-elected Maduro government, and the means would be by, as Machado put, “creat[ing] chaos in the streets.” “Let’s ignite the streets,” she said. “Every corner, every market, every school and university.”
The protests seek to accomplish through extra-legal means what the opposition has been unable to accomplish at the ballot box. Reuters reported just after the opposition suffered a clear defeat in municipal elections in December that “Several other opposition leaders have advocated more confrontational tactics, such as street protests, against Maduro.”
The Maduro government has repeatedly asked for dialogue since the protests began and has created a National Peace Conference. Maduro invited opposition leaders to the first meeting of the Peace Conference February 24 but opposition leader Henrique Capriles rejected the offer.
Latin American leaders from across the political spectrum have condemned the violent protests and expressed their solidarity with the Maduro government. The Organization of American States issued a declaration of “Solidarity and Support for Democratic Institutions, Dialogue, and Peace” in Venezuela.
UNASUR – made up of the 14 governments of South America – has organized a commission of foreign ministers of the region tasked with “accompanying, supporting and advising a broad and constructive political dialogue” in Venezuela. Any kind of US sanctions would undermine this dialogue process that is already underway in Venezuela.
Ros-Lehtinen's HR 4587 is an inappropriate response to an internal conflict in Venezuela and it even goes against the recommendations of the Obama Administration.
The bill did pass the Foreign Affairs committee and will come to a vote on the House floor very soon. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is authoring a Dear Colleague letter this week that would support the Administration's opposition to sanctions on Venezuela in order to give the dialogue process a chance. Calling on more engagement with Venezuela rather than confrontational measures.
We ask you to vote against HR 4587 and support Rep. Conyers' letter.