By Susan North
Joe Kaufman, candidate for Florida’s District 23, (Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the current incumbent), just returned from a Washington, D.C. trip with his wife and a bus full of Venezuelan Americans. The purpose of the trip was to call for sanctions against the government of Nicolás Maduro, a government that is attacking, killing and imprisoning a vast number of Venezuelans who have been peacefully protesting the government there.
During the trip Kaufman spoke to the group saying that Maduro should not be sitting in a place of power, but rather he should be sitting in a cold prison cell for the crimes he has committed against the Venezuelan people. New sanctions to hold Maduro accountable have passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, (Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is Chairman emeritus) and eventually this piece of legislation will reach the White House for signature. However President Barack Obama has publicly stated that he is not interested in new sanctions, rather he wants to see the dialog process work itself out. But Joe Kaufman has a question: ‘what sort of dialog can there be with an oppressive regime that is firing bullets at peaceful protesters, some of whom are students.’
While in Washington, Joe received a package from a fourth grade student named Gianfranco Vivanco who created a project whereby he asked family and friends to write to Obama to ask him get involved. The letters are in both English and Spanish and Joe and his wife read them on the bus ride back to Florida. Unfortunately Barack Obama has been ignoring the situation in Venezuela and Joe asked that he stop ignoring it, and that if we truly believe in freedom then certainly we want to see others, in other countries live in freedom as well.