DORAL (CBSMiami) — Florida’s two senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio, sat side by side Thursday morning at a Venezuelan restaurant in Doral to condemn what they describe as the country’s repressive regime.
“We come together today on an issue that both of us feel very strongly about – and that is the repression, the violence, the killing, the jailing the economic devastation of a country that is sliding further and further into the abyss,” Nelson said.
Added Rubio: “We wanted to continue to raise this issue so Americans do not forget what is happening so that the voice of our country will be strongly and firmly on the side of those who seek peace and justice and democracy in Venezuela.”
Nelson and Rubio both painted a grim picture of the state of affairs in Venezuela.
“Even as we speak, even now, there are people in hospitals and jails who have suffered great injuries at the hands of the repressive regime of [Venezuelan President] Nicolas Maduro,” Rubio said. “Even now as they put on the spectacle of negotiations, which we all hope will come to something but doubt will, we recognize there are people riding around without uniforms on motorcycles that are as much a part of the government as the people with the uniforms on them. They are completely sponsored, protected and supported by the government as elements of violence and repression.”
Nelson and Rubio are demanding the United States increase the pressure on the Venezuelan government.
“Both of us feel very strongly that the government in the United States should take a stronger position, should enact sanctions, economic,” Nelson said. “You can start yanking some visas of people supporting this violence.”
Rubio said the Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans on holding hearings in the coming weeks regarding Venezuela. The committee plans on inviting members of Venezuela’s opposition to come to the United States. He wouldn’t say who from the opposition he’s inviting, for fear that the government will keep them from coming to the United States.
Rubio complimented Vice President Joe Biden for the VP’s recent statements condemning Venezuela and said the normal Washington politics do not apply to this issue.
“The message from today is that we are on the side of the Venezuelan people,” Rubio said. “That we are on the side of those who aspire to freedom, liberty, justice and democracy.”