October 19, 2023

Statement from Democratic Leaders of the House and Senate Western Hemisphere Subcommittees on Progress Toward Democracy in Venezuela

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and Senator Tim Kaine (VA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, released the following statement in recognition of an agreement between Venezuela’s Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime to institute democratizing electoral reforms and the Biden administration’s subsequent conditional easement of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and natural resources industries and certain Venezuelan sovereign bonds:

“As Democratic leaders of the House and Senate subcommittees with jurisdiction over Western Hemisphere affairs, we are heartened to see this important progress toward democracy and human rights in Venezuela. This week’s agreement will create a fairer playing field for opposition campaigns, reinstate the eligibility of opposition candidates, and create a framework for independent election monitoring by international observers. If successfully implemented, this agreement has the potential to foster the preconditions for the free and fair elections that Venezuelans deserve.

“The United States and our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere have an essential role to play in supporting the Venezuelan people’s economic and political aspirations. We welcome the Biden administration’s conditioned sanctions relief efforts, which will require democratic improvements, provide greater opportunities for economic prosperity for everyday Venezuelans, and hopefully open new pathways to secure the release of wrongfully detained U.S. citizens and Venezuelan political prisoners. As we aim to end the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, we believe this agreement paired with targeted sanctions relief proves a good first step. 

“As the United States and our partners continue to support the Venezuelan people, we encourage the Biden administration to use the full range of diplomatic tools at their disposal to protect human rights and democracy in Venezuela. A peaceful and stable Venezuela will be good for our hemisphere and good for the world."