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NEW YORK (March 9, 2022) — The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) expresses grave concern regarding the recent meeting between United States (U.S.) officials and Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. We urge the Biden administration not to throw a lifeline to a dictatorship that is being investigated for crimes against humanity and abandon the millions of Venezuelans who have suffered under Chavismo.

On Saturday, a group of senior U.S. officials traveled to Venezuela to meet with dictator Nicolás Maduro. Among the most important topics discussed, was the possibility of lifting sanctions on the regime and resuming oil imports  an important source of income for the kleptocratic class in Caracas and its repressive machinery, responsible for some of the most atrocious human rights violations seen in the Americas. The visit is also troubling as it provides legitimacy to an authoritarian regime that, until now, was nothing more than an international pariah. This rapprochement from Washington took place days before the U.S. placed a ban on the import of Russian oil and gas in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The United States, along with nearly 70 other countries, has recognized Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela. That the American government is, instead, choosing to engage in negotiations with the head of the criminal organization that seized the Venezuelan state, stole its resources, destroyed the economy, and engaged in egregious human rights violations — forcing millions to flee the country — is an unforgivable betrayal of the Venezuelan people,” said HRF CEO Thor Halvorssen. “We welcome the intense pressure applied on the Russian regime to gut Vladimir Putin’s war machine and make him pay dearly for the invasion of Ukraine. But sanctioning one dictatorship, and then making nice with another, is a moral failure. It is high time the democratic world stops funding autocrats from Caracas to Riyadh. Disconnecting the world from Russian oil and gas will certainly be a challenge not free of costs, but we cannot transfer these costs to the millions suffering under oppressive regimes such as the one in Venezuela,” added Halvorssen.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

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