A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling on the Obama administration to oppose Venezuela’s effort to land a non-permanent, two-year seat on the UN Security Council.
A week ago, Reuters cited diplomatic and administration sources as saying they were resigned to Caracas securing a seat at the 15-nation table and wouldn’t oppose the bid. Venezuela is the only Latin American country in the running and needs a two-thirds vote from the General Assembly next month.
President George W. Bush led a campaign against a Venezuelan bid in 2006. That was during the reign of Hugo Chavez, but this Venezuelan bid comes after Nicolas Maduro’s violent crackdowns on peaceful demonstrators and other human right abuses.
“There should be no place for Venezuela at the UN Security Council. Nicolas Maduro and his regime have been the cause of instability in Venezuela and the Western Hemisphere region and allowing it a seat on the Security Council will legitimize and embolden this brutal regime and give it a platform from which it will attempt to undermine U.S. national security interests as well as global security,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).
“The world is facing many serious security threats, from ISIL in Iraq and Syria and the Iranian nuclear program to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere; a Venezuelan seat on the Security Council would allow it to advocate for its allies like Syria, Iran and Cuba at a time when we need a united approach to confront these challenges.”
Ros-Lehtinen was joined by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), and Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) in petitioning Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Ambassador Samantha Power to oppose the bid.
“We must object when tyrannical regimes, which constantly threaten our national security and undermine our foreign policy, use this opportunity to broadcast anti-American rhetoric and legitimize their oppressive tactics,” the letter reads. “The United States must take a decisive stand in this issue, provide a voice and a vote for those being oppressed, and promote our ideals of democracy, freedom, and the respect for human rights.”
Ros-Lehtinen said President Obama “must oppose Venezuela’s bid for a seat at the Security Council, and Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Power must use the full weight, diplomacy and force of their offices to urge other nations to join the U.S. to vote against and defeat this maneuver by the Maduro regime.”
“We must take a decisive stand for the sake of U.S. national security interests, but also to provide a voice and vote for those being oppressed and to promote our ideals of democracy, freedom and the respect for human rights,” she said.