Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Poll finds little support for Menendez reelection Judge tells Menendez lawyer to 'shut up' MORE (D-N.J.) said the United States is listening to Venezuelans protesting concerns they have with their president, Nicolás Maduro. 

Over the weekend, protesters gathered to issue grievance with the way Maduro has handled economic concerns and his partnership with Cuba. The protesters have been met with violence, which Menendez has said is “government sanctioned.”

“Venezuelans are giving voice to their frustrations, likening President Maduro to a puppet of the Cuban government and chanting their opposition to the rise of authoritarianism in their nation,” Menendez said. “We in the United States are listening carefully and will not ignore the plight of ordinary Venezuelans suffering from government oppression.”

U.S. officials were quick to condemn the violence against protesters, which might have prompted Maduro’s decision to expel U.S. consular officials from the country.

Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for those perpetrating the violence to be held accountable.

“Those individuals who have caused unnecessary bloodshed must be held accountable, cease their violent activity, allow Venezuelans to peacefully gather and let the world know the worsening realities taking place in President Maduro's Venezuela,” Menendez said.