House backs Venezuela demonstrators

The House on Tuesday gave Venezuelans demonstrating against their government a boost by unanimously passing a resolution supporting those demonstrators.

The resolution from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) was passed after the Venezuelan government's increasing use of violence against protestors, which has led to more than a dozen deaths.

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Members of Congress have blamed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for the violence, and said the resolution would send the message that the U.S. opposes his response.

"We must take a clear stand, because the Maduro regime has responded in a deeply undemocratic manner, by forcibly repressing protestors, attempting to silence critics by blocking media outlets, and even authorizing the arrest of key opposition leaders," said Ros-Lehtinen.

"It is an absolute tragedy that 17 people have been killed, and 261 people have been injured during recent protests throughout the country," added Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). "It sounds a little bit like Ukraine, doesn't it?"

The resolution, H.Res. 488, easily passed in a unanimous 393-1 vote.

Earlier in the day, members passed three federal land use bills, all by voice vote:

— S. 23, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act, designating lakeshore land and water in Michigan as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

— H.R. 2259, the North Fork Watershed Protection Act, which restricts new mining projects in the North Fork watershed area of Montana.

— H.R. 2197, the York Wild and Scenic River Study Act, which would require a study on the designation of an area of the York River in Maine as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

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