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CHLI Chairman, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Demanded Solidarity with the Venezuelan People on February 20th

Monday, March 03, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Hector Arguello
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For Immediate Release 
March 3, 2014
   Contact: Mary Ann Gomez
(202) 347-8280

CHLI Chairman, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Demands Solidarity with the Venezuelan People

Miami, Florida - On February 20th, 2014, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Chairman, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, made the following statement on the current situation in Venezuela during his remarks at Florida International University for the CHLI Future Leaders Conference:

Lincoln Diaz-Balart on Venezuela Crisis
The Honorable Lincoln Diaz-Balart on  the current situation in Venezuela



You know what the students are doing in Venezuela?  They're students, just like you.  They're in the streets and they're fighting peacefully demanding the rights we have here in this country:  the right not to be persecuted for your beliefs; the right to vote for our leaders in all levels of government, and for the votes to be actually counted, and for the results to be dictated by the actual tallies.  You know, my friend, former Governor Jeb Bush would always state that personnel is policy and that's why our vantage point, the fact that we in this community know and feel for our brothers and sisters in this hemisphere. Our vantage point is so key. 


You as future leaders are going to be so key in changing what I think needs to happen in this country.  I don't know about you but I am outraged by the lack of interest, the lack knowledge, the lack of concern, whether it's by policy leaders, commentators, the media in this country for what happens here in this hemisphere.  As Ileana was pointing out last night on TV our heart bleeds for whats happening in Ukraine, those are our brothers and sisters too.  It's wonderful that they get covered in the media, it's wonderful that the President of the United States says there will be consequences if the violence continues at the hands of the government of Ukraine against the unarmed people of Ukraine.  That's wonderful and we support it. 


But why is there such a double standard?  Why is there such ignorance, such lack of interest with regard to this hemisphere?  I think someone need to tell the President of the United States the leader of the opposition in Venezuela, he's also Harvard educated like you, Harvard educated leader like you, and his name is Leopoldo Lopez and he's a military prison because he was peacefully demanding the rights we have in this country.  His name has to be known, it has to be mentioned, his freedom has to be demanded.  Now we who have been fighting for freedom in Cuba, for decades, 55 years, a fight that was begun by our parents.  We know what it is to be ignored in systematic, extra-ultimate, more than extreme way.  Right now there's a hunger striker, his name is Antunez in central Cuba in a town called Placetas, on the verge of death.  Try to get any of the media here in the United States to mention him for 10 seconds.  We've seen when Orlando Zapata died because of his hunger strike.  Or Wilmar Villar died during his hunger strike, just months, a couple of years ago.  I don't remember seeing one word in the media in the United States.  Oh we know, we've been facing that, but the fight continues. 


Again, personnel is policy.  Our vantage point, we feel for this hemisphere.  We know this hemisphere.  FIU knows and feels for this hemisphere.  You, leaders of the future, know and feel for our brothers and sisters in this hemisphere.  Whether it's in Cuba, whether it's in Venezuela, whether is anywhere in our hemisphere, in addition to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and around the world, because as Martin Luther King said "an injustice anywhere is an affront to justice everywhere". 


We do believe that, deeply in our hearts.  But we have to convey to the American people the importance of our neighborhood and that our neighborhood cannot be ignored.



About CHLI:

The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute is the premier organization founded by Members of Congress and Corporate Executive Leaders to advance the Hispanic community's economic progress with a focus on social responsibility and global competitiveness.  Founded in 2003, CHLI is a 501(c)3 non-profit and non-partisan organization. CHLI is dedicated to fostering a broad awareness of the diversity of thought, heritage, interests and views of Americans of Hispanic and Portuguese descent. For more information visit WWW.CHLI.ORG 

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