(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement after the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere voted in favor of two measures designed to support democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law in Nicaragua and Venezuela. The first measure, H.R. 5708, the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2016, was authored by Ros-Lehtinen and would require the United States to oppose loans from international financial institutions that would benefit the Ortega regime in Nicaragua unless the regime takes steps to hold free, fair, and transparent elections, promote democracy, strengthen the rule of law, and respect the right to freedom of association and expression. The second measure, H. Res. 851, was authored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) with Ros-Lehtinen as the lead Republican cosponsor and expresses concern about the crisis in Venezuela, and calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners and respect for constitutional and democratic processes in Venezuela. The Subcommittee passed both measures by voice vote.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“I applaud the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee for passing these important measures in a bipartisan fashion to focus on the ongoing human rights violations in Nicaragua and Venezuela. The Ortega regime continues to use its control of the judiciary and electoral branches to ensure Ortega’s family continued rule in Nicaragua’s upcoming so-called elections. In Venezuela, Maduro continues to stall the recall referendum and repression against the people has escalated in the last months while dramatic shortages of basic needs are rampant. We will continue to send a strong message of support to the Nicaraguan and Venezuelan people who are suffering under these rogue regimes.”