Intel Ranking Member Schiff Statement on the Political, Economic and Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:
“With the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuela used to be one of Latin America's most prosperous nations. Today it is marked by rampant violence, corruption, and severe food and medicine shortages. Hospitals are without basic equipment and treatable diseases have become death sentences. As mass hunger spreads, infant mortality and malnutrition have skyrocketed. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets, outraged by the economic collapse and the government’s increasingly authoritarian rule.
“As the country has sunk deeper into economic catastrophe and political chaos, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has been defiant. In recent reporting, President Maduro "depicts his opponents as terrorists who are trying to sow chaos to prepare the ground for a foreign invasion." Rather than address the severe economic and social problems crippling Venezuela, President Maduro has opted to circulate falsehoods, jail the opposition, detain journalists, and postpone elections. Despite fears of violence and government reprisals, the Venezuelan people continue their courageous struggle to restore democracy.
“As we focus on international crises in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula, we cannot ignore a mounting catastrophe so close to our own border. The Maduro government's willingness to permit drug traffickers, and organized crime networks to operate within its borders undercuts our national and regional security efforts. The United States should continue to use targeted sanctions against human rights abusers, drug traffickers, and corrupt officials; build a regional coalition to help end the suffering of the Venezuelan people; and work through the Organization of American States to restore democratic institutions.”