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More than 200,000 Venezuelans live in Florida, and their concerns are our concerns.
And make no mistake; this is a crisis. It’s a humanitarian crisis that threatens the lives of the people of Venezuela and has created a flood of refugees numbering in the millions.
There are some who say this is not our fight – that the millions of Venezuelans suffering 2,000 miles away are not our concern. Some have criticized the mere mention of the crisis in Venezuela by those like myself as American imperialism or a U.S.-backed coup.
I reject that.
There is only one option left to get aid to the people of Venezuela. It is something that no one is willing to talk about.
It is becoming clear that we will have to consider the use of American military assets to deliver aid. Maduro and his thugs have left us no choice.
The path of socialism chosen by the Chavistas inevitably led to a failed state that relies on the world’s bad actors for survival.
The result is one of the worst humanitarian crisis in our hemisphere’s history.
But one thing is clear: Maduro underestimates his people. They may be oppressed, but they are not weak. They may be hungry, but their hunger is for freedom. And they are making their voices heard.
We need to listen.
The United States faces a serious national security threat and a humanitarian crisis at our doorstep. This is becoming as dangerous for us as the Syrian Civil War has been for Europe, Israel, and Jordan.
Today, I’m urging the Administration, Congress, and the American people to see the crisis for what it is: a rising tide of social and political collapse encouraged and funded by our enemies.
First, we must follow through on American policy and indict regime leaders for human rights violations and for narco-trafficking and money laundering crimes. The regime’s strongest supporters do not care if the people suffer.
Second, we must break the hold the Cuban gov has on Venezuela. It’s imperative that the U.S. fully implement the sanctions contained in the Libertad Act to allow U.S. nationals to sue over property confiscated by the Cuban Gov & deny entry to those who traffic in stolen property.
Third, we must encourage our allies in the region to join us in this effort.
President Trump has repeatedly called on regional counterparts to exert more leadership. And he is right to do so.
Fourth, we must not appear weak in the face of Chinese, Russian, and Cuban determination to prop up Maduro. Our adversaries question our will and our determination. Put simply, they don’t think we’re serious.
Sanctions alone aren't stopping the Maduro regime and the United States needs to start considering the use of military assets to bring aid to the millions of starving and sick Venezuelans. And I call on all of our allies and those supporting Guaido to help us in this effort.
My message today is this: the United States stands with the patriots of Venezuela fighting to defend their lives, their liberty, and their sacred honor.
You can follow @SenRickScott.