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Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Venezuela/Chavez and Hagel Nomination



January 8, 2013

With Chavez Not Showing Up To His Own Swearing-In, Ros-Lehtinen Says The Venezuelan Constitution Must Be Respected & New Elections Must Be Held

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding tomorrow’s swearing-in of Hugo Chavez. Chavez will not be present, as the Venezuelan constitution demands, for his swearing-in before the National Assembly.

Ros-Lehtinen’s statement:

“The delay of his swearing-in is yet another example of the trampling of the constitution by this despot. The Venezuelan constitution states that the leader of Venezuela needs to take the oath of office on January 10 in front of the National Assembly or the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice.

"The authoritarian and undemocratic Chavez regime would do anything to maintain its iron grip over the Venezuelan people and these thugs cringe at the thought of relinquishing power. The Venezuelan Supreme Court is filled with Chavez cronies and cannot be seen as an impartial judicial entity. The voices of the Venezuelan people demand to be heard and they deserve a fair, transparent, and democratic process to determine the fate of their nation.

"I call on the Department of State and the Organization of American States to ensure that democratic principles and the respect for the Venezuelan constitution are upheld. All responsible nations should ensure that Venezuela follows its own constitution which states that in the ‘absolute absence’ of the President, new elections must be held.”




January 8, 2013


With Hagel Nominated As Secretary Of Defense, Ros-Lehtinen Says His Views Concerning Iran, Cuba & Israel Run Contrary To U.S. National Interests

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, now serving as Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa, issued the following statement on President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

Ros-Lehtinen’s statement:

“I am deeply disappointed in President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as our nation’s next Secretary of Defense. Senator Hagel’s positions regarding foreign policy issues, particularly concerning Iran, Cuba, and Israel, runs contrary to U.S. national interests.

"During his time in Congress, Senator Hagel supported legislation that would have provided a lifeline to the decrepit Castro regime that for the last half a century has exploited the Cuban people and posed a severe security threat to the U.S.  He opposed sanctions against Iran, which has brazenly pursued the development of a nuclear weapon in open defiance of the international community as well as called for the destruction of one of our vital allies, Israel. His outspoken criticism of our ally, the democratic State of Israel, will not further the fragile peace process in the region and may embolden Israel’s enemies into believing that the U.S. will not stand with Israel. It must be made clear that Israel will always be our greatest ally in the struggle for peace in the Middle East and vital partner in the defense of democracy and liberty.

"We must have a Secretary of Defense who is supportive of our U.S. national security goals and can stand up to Ahmadinejad and other dictators who seek to undermine our national security interests. In a time of regional turmoil and rogue regimes, our Secretary of Defense must remain strong on sanctions against Iran, never abandon our allies, like Israel, and stand-up to dictators like the Castro brothers who seek to oppress the voices of democracy and freedom. I ask my colleagues in the Senate to be thorough in their vetting process to ensure that the best possible candidate is chosen to carry out the duties required of a Secretary of Defense.”  


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