‘Pivotal Day’: South Florida Leaders React to Unrest in Venezuela

Lawmakers in South Florida and throughout the state spoke out in support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who took the the streets with activist Leopoldo Lopez and a contingent of heavily armed soldiers early Tuesday in an effort to oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted updates on the situation in Venezuela throughout the morning as the dramatic events unfolded, posting that there “can be no bystanders” in Venezuela.

“After years of suffering freedom is waiting for people of #Venezuela. Do not let them take this opportunity from you,” Rubio tweeted. “Now is the moment to take to the streets in support of your legitimate constitutional government. Do not allow this moment to slip away. It may not come again.”

Sen. Rick Scott called it a “pivotal day” in Venezuela.

“It’s time for the entire military to join Juan Guaidó and fight for freedom for the people. Now is your chance to make history and to restore constitutional democracy in Venezuela,” Scott said in a statement. “The entire world is watching and waiting. It’s time to leave the evil reign of Nicolas Maduro on the ash heap of history.”

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart said after years of “corruption, oppression and human rights abuses” it was time for Maduro to go.

“The free world stands with the courageous people of #Venezuela and its democratically elected interim President @jguaido. #VenezuelaLibre,” Diaz-Balart tweeted.

Congresswoman Donna Shalala also voiced her support for Guaido on Twitter.

“Today Venezuela dawns with the air of freedom! We stand with the Venezuelan people and interim president @jguaido in these decisive hours as they restore their democracy. #VivaVenezuelaLibre #OperaciónLibertad,” she said.

City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez released a video statement saying he is doing everything he can to support Guaido.

“Today is a very critical moment where the president, democratically elected Juan Guaido alongside Leopoldo Lopez, the main opposition leader, have signaled to the military that it is time for them to rise up alongside of them to finish the process operation Liberty and guarantee liberty for all Venezuelans,” Suarez said.