This Thursday, September 7, a hearing of the Subcommittee on Foreign Relations for the Western Hemisphere was held in the Senate. Ted Cruz used the space to discuss how the left has been making strides in Latin America. He also stressed the Biden administration’s lack of sanctions on the main socialist leaders involved in corruption scandals and events that threaten U.S. security.
"I'm deeply concerned that the Western Hemisphere is being overwhelmed by anti Americanism, and that countries across the region are aligning themselves with our adversaries and our enemies," Cruz said.
The Texas senator also claimed that the Biden administration has decided to "embrace" leaders who are "actively hostile" to the United States, and recalled that President Biden warmly welcomed Lula Da Silva at the White House and called him a "good friend."
"Lula is an anti American chavista who embraces the Chinese Communist Party, Vladimir Putin and the Iranian regime," Cruz said.
Senator Cruz recalled that, in February, Lula allowed two of Iran's most advanced warships to dock in the port of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He also said that the Lula’s government’s corruption played an important role in his decision to ignore the Biden administration and allow the ships to reach the port.
At the hearing, Cruz questioned Brian Nichols, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, about the lack of sanctions on Latin America's socialist leaders. After asking Nichols to clarify whether the Biden administration has imposed any sanctions on the Lula government for the matter of the Iranian ships that docked in the port of Rio de Janeiro, the undersecretary said he is not aware of any sanctions regarding that specific situation. To which Cruz replied, "Nor am I, and that's the problem."
Lula da Silva’s corrupt embrace of China, Iran, and Russia is a threat to America and our allies in the region. The Biden administration has allowed him to violate what are supposed to be powerful sanctions meant to counter those threats. pic.twitter.com/etnd7iwdlV
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 8, 2023
Cruz also questioned Nichols for the lack of sanctions on Argentina's vice president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. An Argentine court found Cristina Fernández guilty of supervising and benefiting from fraudulently awarded government contracts and sentenced her to six years in prison and a lifetime ban from holding public office.
Senator Cruz pointed out that Fernández de Kirchner's current political role as vice president grants him immunity from jail in Argentina, but that there is no such restriction imposed by Congress for the current administration to sanction her.
"Argentina's courts have confirmed Cristina Fernandez is a kleptocrat. She has been indicted for obstructing investigations into Iranian terrorism. Why has the Biden administration not sanctioned her?" asked Cruz to Nichols. To which the undersecretary responded that he does not discuss the pending actions and that "I would not be able to discuss what we will or will not do with regard."
Finally, on Fernández de Kirchner, Senator Cruz said: "She’s a convicted kleptocrat who has been indicted for obstructing investigations into Iranian terrorism. The Kirchner criminal family has looted Argentina’s coffers. She may have immunity in Argentina but that doesn’t make her exempt from sanctions laws passed by Congress."