Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida Tells Haiti, Other Nations to Defend Democracy In Vote on Venezuela Sanctions

Sen. Marco Rubio sent a strong warning to the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Haiti on Monday, saying that it would be difficult to protect them from possible cuts in U.S. aid if they fail to defend democracy when the Venezuelan government comes up for a possible sanctions vote at the Organization of American States (OAS).

The Florida Republican, one of the harshest critics of the Venezuelan government in Washington, told El Nuevo Herald that the OAS vote set for Tuesday is exceptionally important for the future of democracy in the region, and of the hemispheric organization itself.

The vote would even affect the assistance that Washington provides to El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, he added.

“This is not a threat, but it is the reality,” said Rubio, one of the architects of U.S. laws that already sanction Venezuela’s chavista government because of the corruption and human rights violations in the oil-producing country.

“We have a very difficult situation in Washington, where massive cuts in foreign aid are under consideration,” the senator said. “And it will be very difficult for us to justify assistance to those countries if they, at the end of the day, are countries that do not cooperate in the defense of democracy in the region.”

Rubio said he was surprised that some countries in the region had not yet decided how to vote this week at the OAS, despite a hard-hitting report by Secretary General Luis Almagro that details how the regime of President Nicolas Maduro has become a dictatorship, led by drug traffickers, that regularly breaks all sections of the organization’s Inter-American Democratic Charter.

He was especially surprised by the indecision in El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Haiti, all countries that Rubio said “have suffered a lot in terms of humanitarian issues and have themselves suffered the consequences of the lack of democracy.”

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SOURCE: The Miami Herald
Antonio María Delgado