MiamiHerald / Congressional Democrats on Tuesday introduced a resolution condemning the Venezuelan government’s proposed presidential contest in April as a “sham election” and calling for the vote to be postponed until minimal electoral standards are met.

Spearheaded by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the resolution calls for “free and fair” elections that allow inspection by credible international observers. The document condemns steps it charges President Nicolas Maduro has taken to consolidate authoritarian power and undermine democratic institutions like the National Assembly of Venezuela and Supreme Tribunal of Justice.

“President Maduro’s government has used repressive tactics to undermine democracy in Venezuela and silence the voices of his own people,” Durbin said. “Attempting to buy votes with food during a period of widespread hunger is cruel and unacceptable, and any election held under these circumstances must be considered illegitimate in the eyes of the world.”

Ten senators joined Durbin on the resolution, including Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Chris Coons, D-Del., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.


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