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H.Res. 851 (114th): Expressing profound concern about the ongoing political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, urging the release of political prisoners, and calling for respect of constitutional and democratic processes.

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Sep 27, 2016.


Expresses concern about: (1) widespread shortages of essential medicines and basic food products faced by the people of Venezuela and urges President Maduro to permit the delivery of humanitarian assistance; and (2) the Venezuelan executive's lack of respect for the principle of separation of powers, its overreliance on emergency decree powers, and its threat to judicial independence. Expresses support for meaningful efforts towards a dialogue that leads to respect for Venezuela's constitutional mechanisms and resolves the country's political, economic, social, and humanitarian crisis.

Calls on: (1) the government of Venezuela to immediately release all political prisoners, including U.S. citizens, to provide protections for freedom of expression and assembly, and to respect internationally recognized human rights; and (2) such government and security forces to respect the Constitution of Venezuela, including constitutional provisions that provide Venezuelan citizens with the right to peacefully pursue a fair and timely recall referendum for their president this year.

Stresses the urgency of strengthening the rule of law and increasing efforts to combat impunity and public corruption in Venezuela.

Affirms the support of the House of Representatives for OAS Secretary General Almagro's invocation of Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and urges the OAS Permanent Council, which represents all of the organization's member states, to undertake a collective assessment of the constitutional and democratic order in Venezuela.

Urges the President of the United States to provide full support for OAS efforts in favor of constitutional and democratic solutions to the political impasse, and to instruct appropriate federal agencies to hold officials of the Venezuelan government accountable for violations of U.S. law and abuses of internationally recognized human rights.

Urges the President to continue to stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people by urging the Maduro government to:

hold a fair and free recall referendum by the end of this calendar year; release all political prisoners, including U.S. citizens, from prison; adhere to democratic principles; and permit the delivery of emergency food and medicine.