April 22, 2022
This week, Republicans in the Florida congressional delegation sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to invite Juan Guaidó, the democratically-elected President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, to attend the Summit of the Americas, which the United States will host in Los Angeles the week of June 6-10, 2022.
In the letter, the lawmakers also called on Biden to prohibit representatives from the regimes of Miguel Díaz-Canel in Cuba, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua from attending the Summit. Additionally, the lawmakers urged Biden to support the passage of the bicameral, bipartisan “Banning Operations and Leases with the Illegitimate Venezuelan Authoritarian Regime (BOLIVAR) Act,” which would prohibit federal agencies from doing business with anyone that supports the Maduro regime.
Florida Republicans U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Giménez, Maria Elvira Salazar and Mike Waltz signed the letter which is below.
Dear President Biden:
As you announced earlier this year, the United States will host the ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California during the week of June 6-10, 2022. This will be the first Summit of the Americas hosted in the United States since the very first Summit in 1994, which was held in Miami, Florida.
Unfortunately, in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, we are seeing our enemies like Communist China, Russia and Iran stepping in and propping up totalitarian leaders in their effort to destabilize the region. America needs to be a leading voice for freedom, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance in our hemisphere. Having spent years representing Floridians and the millions of Hispanic-Americans who call the Sunshine State home, we fully understand the importance of this Summit in achieving that goal.
That’s why, today, we write to urge that you invite Juan Guaidó, the democratically-elected President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, to attend the Summit. President Guaidó is the legitimate, democratically elected leader of Venezuela and he represents the interests of freedom-loving Venezuelans who are fed up with Nicolás Maduro’s tyranny, oppression and genocide. President Guaidó and representatives of his government deserve a seat at the Summit, while dictator Maduro certainly does not.
It is critically important that we do not allow the Summit to legitimize the tyrants in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The United States must prohibit representatives from the illegitimate regimes of Miguel Díaz-Canel in Cuba, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua from attending the Summit. These men are dictators who are starving their own people, jailing political dissidents and cracking down on peaceful protests. Welcoming these evil and illegitimate leaders, or the representatives of their sham governments, to the United States would be nothing short of gross appeasement that hurts the movements for freedom and democracy in these nations.
We have been very outspoken about the threats posed to the United States and our fellow democratic nations by totalitarian and corrupt enemies, like Maduro, Ortega and the illegitimate communist regime in Cuba – and the horrific human rights abuses occurring at their direction. These regimes have failed to uphold the basic principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and have forfeited a position at the Summit.
During the Summit, we urge you to highlight the fights of democracy activists like José Daniel Ferrer, who has been unjustly imprisoned and tortured by thugs in Cuba for almost nine months, while artists, musicians and even children were imprisoned following the July 11 protests. Further, we believe that the United States should use the Summit to highlight how adversaries, like Russia, Communist China and Iran, support and collaborate with these gross regimes to destabilize the region, promote socialism and bolster Marxist-terrorist groups like FARC.
Finally, ahead of the Summit, we urge you to support the passage of the Banning Operations and Leases with the Illegitimate Venezuelan Authoritarian Regime (BOLIVAR) Act, which would prohibit federal agencies from doing business with anyone that supports the oppressive Maduro regime. Under no circumstances should we lift sanctions on Maduro or his thugs, and there is no world in which it makes sense to purchase Venezuelan oil. The BOLIVAR Act, led by Senator Scott and Congressman Waltz, is a bicameral, bipartisan bill that was unanimously approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in March 2021. This good bill deserves your full support, and signing it into law ahead of the Summit would send a strong message of American leadership.
We must be clear and unapologetic in standing up to the thugs who are oppressing the people of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. Within all applicable rules and regulations, we encourage you to use this unique opportunity to strongly show America’s unwavering support for freedom and democracy across the Western Hemisphere.