From Governor Ron DeSantis’ press office:
DORAL, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by Venezuelan Americans in Miami-Dade County to discuss the Biden administration’s unconscionable resumption of high-level diplomatic contact with the brutal Maduro regime in Caracas and to highlight the failures of the Biden administration’s energy policies which have led to record high gas prices. A recording of the roundtable discussion can be viewed here.
“Many Americans and a lot of Floridians are very angered by the Biden administration‘s recent attempts to legitimize the brutal Maduro regime in Venezuela,” saidGovernor Ron DeSantis. “This is part of a familiar pattern of the Biden administration thumbing its nose at millions of people here in Florida, just like when it took FARC off the terrorism list and didn’t lift a finger to help the democracy protesters in Cuba. Now, Biden is going hat in hand to legitimize Nicolas Maduro, who is responsible for countless atrocities and has driven Venezuela into the ground. The United States should be energy independent, but instead gas prices have been going up consistently since January 20, 2021. Now we’re in a situation where people are really hurting and rather than acknowledge that their policies have been ineffective, they’re going to Maduro and they’re going to the ayatollahs in Iran. The answer is American energy independence, not propping up Nicolas Maduro. We’re saying here today: No, we do not accept Joe Biden legitimizing a murderous tyrant and we stand with the people in South Florida and the people in Venezuela who are seeking freedom.”
Under the Biden administration, there has been sky-high inflation and record high gas prices impacting Floridians and Americans across the country. Governor DeSantis called on the Florida Legislature to enact a gas tax holiday to provide relief to Floridians at the pump and he is looking forward to that legislation hitting his desk. Furthermore, the Florida State Board of Administration continues to refrain from investments in Venezuelan entities and all state agencies are prohibited from engaging with the Venezuelan government or Venezuelan companies.
“The Biden Administration’s secret meeting with the tyrannical despot Maduro legitimizes a cruel regime and is a demoralizing betrayal of those who have risked their lives for freedom in Venezuela and elsewhere,” Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said. “The U.S. should not rely on our enemies for energy. Instead, we should hold dictators accountable and increase domestic energy production here at home. That is why I am proud to stand alongside Governor DeSantis in condemning the White House for emboldening Maduro’s dictatorship and refusing to pursue US energy independence.”
“Governor, thank you for bringing us together for such an important reason. The President of the United States is looking for oil everywhere except in the United States of America,” said Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. “In these talks he is betraying the freedom of Venezuela, which is something that we will not stand for. We have not seen a betrayal like this since the ‘60s, and not only is he betraying the Venezuelan people, he is harming our national security. President Biden, if you think you can continue to betray the Venezuelan cause of freedom with impunity, you are mistaken.”
“Thank you, Governor for your support. I left Venezuela in February 1999 when the whole country was burning,” said Ernesto Ackerman, President, Independent Venezuelan American Citizens. “I am also the son of a concentration camp survivor. I did not see the impacts of socialism in movies or books, I saw it in person. Maduro is an international criminal. Now, secretly and behind our backs, the President of the United States goes and talks to this criminal. Criminals talk to criminals. We do not talk to criminals. Maduro belongs in jail. My concern is that these people are injecting socialism in our community. Let’s go into the schools. Let’s teach our students in the United States how socialism starts, because it starts like this.”
“For my entire life I have remembered my father’s story and how he was rescued from Auschwitz by Americans,” said Dr. Rafael Gottenger, President, Venezuelan American Medical Association. “My mission has been to help Venezuelans who fled to the United States and those still dying in Venezuela. There are still children dying from hunger in Venezuela. This opening from the Biden administration will incentivize more black market operations in Venezuela and will allow the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela to get worse, which is why we are so concerned about what is happening right now.”
“We are now in a fight between principles, values and interests,” said Juan Fernandez, Founder, Gente del Petroleo. “I think everyone here today is fighting for principles. I was working in Venezuela the year that Chavez came to power. We realized in that year that Venezuela could not be a reliable partner in the energy market. That has not changed. We will continue to fight for principles and against Maduro, no matter who is supporting him, whether it is President Biden or anyone else. There are interests around our president who are pushing this narrative but it does not make sense. The oil industry in Venezuela has been completely destroyed. I think if we can ever do something with the country, first we need to get Maduro out of Venezuela.”
“I understood little by little that Venezuela was falling into the wrong hands because it was under a socialist administration with communist ideas,” said Lorenzo di Stefano, owner of El Arepazo restaurant. “To hear President Biden say he is not going to finance Russia — it doesn’t matter if he is going to buy oil from and fill the pockets of Maduro, a terrorist narcotrafficker who has killed his people and keeps tossing political prisoners in jail.”
“Thank you Governor DeSantis for being the retaining wall between patriotism and capitalism and socialism and communism,” said Carines Moncada, Journalist, Venezuelan Radio Talent. “Why would you take the business from one dictator and give it to another dictator? Sitting down with the Venezuelan regime, [Biden] was endorsing Maduro as a leader of Venezuela and hurting the people of Venezuela [who] are dying because they have no medicine, because they have no food, because they can’t afford to live the way they should be living.”
“Three weeks ago I was in Venezuela and yes, it’s very pretty, but the truth is the hospitals are in crisis, the economy is in crisis, so many have lost their businesses, and they haven’t been able to rebuild,” said Lesly Simon, President, Venezuelan-American Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t see how this secret meeting [between the Biden administration and the Maduro regime] will help the people of Venezuela.”