Tension between President Joe Biden (D) and Republican members of Congress continues to grow regarding Venezuela. With the Maduro regime backtracking on its commitments to hold free and fair elections this year, the Biden Administration is facing mounting pressure to act. In response to the concern, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul (R) is leading the call for the Biden Administration to reinstate the sanctions against Venezuela that were eased at the end of 2023.
In October of last year, the Biden Administration lifted sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector in response to a deal that was reached between the government and opposition parties concerning the 2024 election. The deal included that the country would be committed to holding free and fair elections. Republican lawmakers were wary of the announcement, and Democrats were more welcoming while still holding reservations.
This week, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman and Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R), Chairman and Rep. McCaul, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member and Idaho Senator Jim Risch (R), released a joint statement, commenting on the Maduro regime backtracking on its commitment to the Biden Administration last year.
Citing that “Maduro has once again broken his commitments to the Biden Administration,” the lawmakers added that “the disqualification of opposition leader Maria Corina Machado and other ongoing arrests of the Venezuelan opposition run counter to the regime’s promises.”
“It’s past time the Biden Administration hold Maduro accountable,” they urge, calling on the Biden Administration to “immediately reinstate all sanctions removed since October 2022,” and urging “the European Union and other regional partners in the Western Hemisphere to match our sanctions, and seek international cooperation for the arrest and extradition of Nicolas Maduro.”
The lawmakers concluded by affirming that “we must deny the Maduro regime the resources to commit gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and threaten regional and international peace.”