Conservatives Decry Biden's Venezuela Strategy as Dissidents are Jailed

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
January 23, 2024

President Joe Biden has again come under fire for his administration’s Venezuela foreign policy strategy  after the arrest of opposition leader Juan Freites.

The arrest was published by ‘Vente Venezuela’, the political party opposing Dictator Maduro’s authoritarian regime. 

Freites was the director of campaigning for Vente Venezuela and was allegedly dragged into a black pick-up truck before being displaced to an undisclosed location.

US Representative Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) also broke the news, accusing Biden of “failing to respond.”

Indeed, the White House has yet to respond to Maduro’s latest affront to Venezuelan political dissidents. 

Today’s arrest of Freites is the latest in a chain of abuses directed by Maduro in an effort to intimidate opposition politicians in the lead up to Venezuela’s 2024 presidential elections. 

Representative Salazar, a daughter of Cuban exiles, has aggressively criticized socialist autocrats and defined Maduro as the leader of a “murderous regime.”

Last month, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Salazar jointly reintroduced the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development (VERDAD) Act.  

The VERDAD Act imposes sanctions against Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s regime and outlines US strategy towards supporting a democratic transition in Venezuela. 

However, earlier in the year, Biden lifted sanctions on Venezuela in exchange for Maduro’s promise of free and fair elections in 2024.  

Despite Maduro’s pledges to Biden, the former disqualified the opposition primaries’ majority winner Maria Corina Machado from participating in the upcoming elections. 

Additionally, Maduro appointed Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab just recently ordered for the capture of Machado’s and other opposition leaders’ staff.

Since then, conservative and liberal lawmakers have been urging Biden to reimpose sanctions on Venezuela.

In Florida, Senator Bryan Avila (R-Miami) filed a memorial officially requesting the US Secretary of State reimpose sanctions on Venezuela. 

Senator Avila’s memorial alleges that Biden’s current strategy will “provide revenue to the Maduro regime which it can use to stay in power and spread terror and corruption around the globe.”

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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