Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida accused the Biden administration Wednesday of eroding the legitimacy of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
In a letter to the president, Cruz and Rubio said they were concerned that Biden’s policies “are threatening to erode the international recognition and legitimacy of Juan Guaidó as the Interim President of Venezuela and of the National Assembly.”
The U.S. recognizes Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela, but his influence abroad has waned in recent months as Nicolás Maduro has tightened his grip on Caracas.
A White House official recently told The Miami Herald that the Biden administration would not interfere if Venezuela’s opposition movement decided to oust Guaidó.
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Guaidó challenged Maduro’s claim to the presidency in 2019 following Maduro’s victory in an election that was widely dismissed by international observers as fraudulent.
Guaidó formed an “interim government” that was recognized by the U.S. and dozens of other countries, but it had no control over other Venezuelan institutions and failed to weaken Maduro’s socialist administration.
Cruz and Rubio alleged that the Biden administration’s actions have given “unwarranted and dangerous legitimacy to the Nicolas Maduro regime.” They pointed to the recent “misguided” release of two prisoners – who happened to be the nephews of Maduro’s wife – who were serving time in federal prison for a drug smuggling sentence.
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“Such actions undermine the rule of law, our credibility in the region, and give dictators the assurance that kidnapping innocent Americans to negotiate concessions is always on the table with this administration,” Cruz and Rubio said.
The Republican lawmakers expressed concerns with reports that the administration was considering allowing Chevron to resume operations with Venezuela’s state-controlled oil company, PDVSA, which remains under sanctions.
The senators implored the Biden administration not to release financier and Maduro money launderer Alex Saab, reduce sanctions on PDVSA, or exclude the interim government from any negotiation process with the Maduro regime, among other concerns.
“Negotiations with a dictator will only beget more negotiations with a dictator, and the damage done in the meantime is disastrous,” Cruz and Rubio said.
Fox News Digital has reached out to the White House for comment.