“We urge the administration and the community of democracies in the hemisphere to keep a watchful eye on the conditions leading up to and during election day itself when assessing the elections, and to ensure that the will of the people is expressed in legitimate elections results,” the senators said in a statement Tuesday.

Chávez has ruled Venezuela for 14 years, and Capriles is viewed as the best shot to topple the socialist leader.

“On October 7th, Venezuelans will get to choose between two radically different futures for their country in an election of strategic importance for our hemisphere,” Rubio and Menendez said. “The Venezuelan government has the obligation to conduct a free and transparent electoral process, ensure the safety of all voters, and respect the will of the voters. 

“The Venezuelan people should know that the democracies of the Western Hemisphere stand ready to hold accountable any individual threatening to disrupt the peaceful conduct of free and fair elections.”

U.S. relations with Venezuela have slightly improved under President Obama. Just the other day Chávez said he’d vote for Obama if he could — a far cry from when Chávez famously called former President George W. Bush “the devil” during a U.N. speech.