Maduro’s Reign of Terror and The Venezuelan Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019
Venezuela was once one of the wealthiest countries in South America, but today, it is in shambles facing an economic, humanitarian, and security crisis. This is largely due to president Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship and poor leadership, which has corrupted Venezuela’s once-democratic institutions.
More than three million Venezuelans are fleeing Maduro’s socialist government and seeking refuge aboard. These Venezuelan refugees are fleeing economic and political turmoil and settling in nearby countries such as Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil to escape the tyrannical Maduro Regime. To address the growing crisis in Venezuela U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president. Guaidó declared himself interim president as an effort to remove Maduro, who many Venezuelan residents blame for the country’s economic collapse.
According to the Constitution of Venezuela, the national assembly leader becomes president if there is a “vacuum of power” within the country. Guaidó claims that Maduro’s second term in May 2018 was won through electoral fraud, thus constituting such a vacuum.
Venezuela’s economy has deteriorated at such an alarming rate that it has caused a scarcity of food, medicine, and basic necessities. Crime has skyrocketed, and freedom of the press is almost nonexistent. Maduro has a history of continual disregard for basic human rights that include arbitrary arrests, media censorship of those who have spoken out against him, imprisonment of those who have opposed him, and even lethal force against peaceful protesters.
Two U.S. house representatives from Florida—Darren Soto, a Democrat, and Mario Díaz-Balart, a Republican—offered a bipartisan proposal to make Venezuelans fleeing their country eligible for temporary protected status (TPS), allowing them to settle in the United States. The Venezuelan Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019 would protect Venezuelan refugees by allowing them to legally remain and work in the United States. Their protected status would last 18 months and could be renewed. TPS protection would shield these refugees from deportation and grant them work authorization, allowing them to pay taxes and contribute to their communities. Additionally, the act would permit them to travel abroad for emergencies and extenuating circumstances.
It is too soon to predict what the state of Venezuela will look like in years to come. There is no doubt that what is happening in Venezuela is a heartbreaking situation. Many Venezuelan refugees have fled from their homeland with just the clothes on their backs, whereas many others have chosen to stay and continue to fight for their country