Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
The Maduro regime deprived Venezuelans yet again of their right to participate in a free and fair electoral process, during Venezuela’s November 21 regional and local elections. Fearful of the voice and vote of Venezuelans, the regime grossly skewed the process to determine the result of this election long before any ballots had been cast. Arbitrary arrests and harassment of political and civil society actors, criminalization of opposition parties’ activities, bans on candidates across the political spectrum, manipulation of voter registration rolls, persistent media censorship, and other authoritarian tactics all but quashed political pluralism and ensured the elections would not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people.
The United States supports the people of Venezuela in their desire for a peaceful restoration of democracy through free and fair elections, with full respect for freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. We commend the political parties and candidates as well as voters who decided to participate in this process despite its flaws to preserve and fight for much-needed democratic space. But that space is limited by Maduro’s efforts to divide and suppress Venezuela’s democratic actors. By arbitrarily imprisoning reportedly more than 250 individuals on political grounds, denying Venezuelans their rights to freely express their opinions and choose their own leaders, and restricting Venezuelans’ access to accurate information, Maduro robs Venezuelans of their chance to shape their own future. We call on the Maduro regime to cease its repression and allow Venezuelans to live in the peaceful, stable, and democratic country they deserve and have long sought.
The United States stands with all Venezuelans striving courageously to build a better future for their country. We continue to support Venezuelan-led negotiations to restore the democracy Venezuelans deserve and to alleviate the suffering brought upon them by Maduro and his enablers. We support the efforts of the democratic Venezuelan opposition and interim President Juan Guaidó. We will continue to work with Venezuelan and international partners using all diplomatic and economic tools available to press for the release of all those unjustly detained for political reasons, the independence of political parties, respect for freedom of expression and other universal human rights, and an end to human rights abuses.