Washington D.C. – Today, House Foreign Affairs Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) joined Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State James Baker, and Venezuelan Ambassador Carlos Vecchio to address the ongoing crisis in Venezuela and take part in a listening session with the victims of Nicolas Maduro’s brutal regime. The event took place at the Rice University’s “Baker Institute of Public Policy” in Houston, TX. Lead Republican McCaul released the following statement in response to today’s developments on Venezuela:

Lead Republican McCaul: “I was honored to join Vice President Pence in my home state of Texas to address the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. During his speech, it was announced that the Administration will impose new sanctions targeting Venezuelan oil shipments to Cuba. For far too long the Cubans have avoided repercussions for their support of the illegitimate Maduro regime. I applaud the Administration for taking this important step that will further isolate Maduro by cutting off a crucial financial lifeline.

“I also had the opportunity to sit down with families of the six CITGO executives, four of whom are Texans, held hostage in Venezuela. Today marks 500 days since their unlawful detainment by Maduro and his band of thugs. I continue to call for their immediate release and safe return home to the United States.

“As long as Nicolas Maduro remains in power the people of Venezuela will continue to suffer. As the Vice President said today, the American people know that it doesn’t take ‘courage to silence free speech, it takes courage to defend it.’ The United States continues to stand with interim President Guaido and the courageous people of Venezuela until liberty is restored and Maduro’s reign of power is ceased.”