Yesterday Venezuelan community leaders from across Florida held a press call to discuss Marco Rubio’s failure to stand up for those who have fled Maduro’s regime and are living, working, and going to school in Florida thanks to Temporary Protected Status. While Venezuelans have been pressing Rubio to support measures to allow those with TPS to build a life in the U.S. with permanent residency, Rubio has insisted that those with TPS not receive permanent protections and eventually should be sent back to Venezuela.
Highlights from the press call are below and a full recording can be found here
“All of this rhetoric that Marco Rubio has for Venezuelans and the Venezuelan cause is just tweets and narrative. But whenever he has to put actions where his words are, he just turns his back on us. For the last few months, and especially during 2021, he has said that he is not going to support any legislation that gives us a path to residency and path to citizenship because he wants us to go back to Venezuela once the situation gets better there”.
“Personally I feel offended that Senator Rubio was signing a letter…asking for the extension of TPS for Venezuelans just because the midterms are coming in November. We are not buying it, we are not going to be props again just for his political gain”, said Ade Ferro, Executive Director of the Venezuelan American Caucus.
“Senator Rubio believes that a signature in a letter joining Senator Bob Menendez is going to clean his face. Unfortunately I’m one of the people who has trusted Rubio in the past, had several meetings with him in the past, and when the time of action arrived, he runs away…All we’re asking for for our people are the same things [Marco Rubio’s] dad and mom benefited from,” said William Diaz, Founder of Casa De Venezuela.
“In Latin America, we’re already used to having politicians that are all talk and no show, that are all bark but no bite. And this is something that we see from Senator Marco Rubio. We see that for a leader it’s easy to act when others have already acted. What’s really hard is to act first and show what you mean. We’ve talked a little about how President Biden has kept his promise. I feel, and we feel, that Marco Rubio hasn’t kept his promise. He’s leading from behind, and quite frankly he’s leading weakly,” said Luis Atencio, an activist and community leader from Doral.
“TPS is temporary. The reality is that our families, particularly our young people, need a path to permanence in this country so that we can continue building, we can continue creating, we can continue contributing to the American society which we do as workers, as job creators, as students. So Senator Rubio, which one is it? Do you support the Venezuelan community, or do you not? Because every time an election comes, you come out to say you support the Venezuelan community…But how come in the five years before the election year, you turn your back on us? That’s unacceptable,” said Samuel Vilchez Santiago, a Venezuelan asylee and community leader from Central Florida.