FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 31, 2017
MADURO DRIVES VENEZUELA TO BRINK OF CIVIL WAR; HUMAN RIGHTS ORG CALLS FOR CUBA TO BE LABELED “STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM” FOR ROLE
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation condemns illegal election in Venezuela and petitions U.S. to take action against Cuba
Washington, D.C. – On Sunday, Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorial regime attempted to consolidate its power in Venezuela by holding an illegal election to form an extra-constitutional Constituent Assembly. According to independent sources, 3.6 million of people went to the ballot box (only about 18.5 percent of registered voters), and many of the votes were either coerced or rendered null. In comparison, over 7.5 million Venezuelans participated in the referendum organized by the opposition earlier this month. Due to Cuba’s intense efforts to usurp democracy in Venezuela, VOC believes it is time to return Cuba to the state sponsors of terrorism list.
With a death toll over 120 and confirmed reports of snipers targeting protesters, Maduro’s regime is waging war against Venezuelans despite widespread calls for freedom. In response, Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC), offered the following statement:
“Maduro’s sham election was a brazen attempt by Venezuela’s brutal regime to silence the country’s majority opposition. With over 3,500 political arrests and more than 500 prisoners, including violinist Wuilly Arteaga, the regime has shown that it has no respect for democratic governance and human rights. This illegal election was a full-fledged attack on the country’s already weak democratic institutions. The resolve and the suffering of the Venezuelan people should be a rallying cry for all those who value freedom.
The international community largely condemning Sunday’s election is a necessary step forward. However, we cannot ignore Cuba’s role in supporting Maduro’s regime and more action is needed to hold both governments accountable for their brutality. In addition to increasing sanctions against Maduro’s illegitimate government, the U.S. government should take a hardline against Cuba by designating the Castro regime a ‘state sponsor of terror.’ The U.S. government should further demand the immediate withdrawal of all Cuban military and intelligence personnel from Venezuelan territory.
Let’s be clear: the Maduro regime is waging a war against its own citizens, with Cuba’s full-fledged support. The communist parties of Castro and Maduro are conspiring to make Venezuela a single-party state and hold its people captive, by violent and illegal means. We are watching in real time a new communist state take form in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. must not allow this tragedy to continue. What is happening only a several-hour flight from the U.S. is a direct threat to our country’s national interest and inimical to our values. The opposition in Venezuela is united and ready to govern. The U.S. cannot stand idly by as Maduro orders the death and torture of the innocent who oppose his regime.”
For more information or to schedule an interview with Marion Smith, VOC Executive Director, please contact Ayla at [email protected] or 202.629.9500.