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Miami-Dade County commissioners condemn Venezuela violence


Local government may have no say over U.S. foreign policy, but that didn't stop Miami-Dade County commissioners from weighing in Tuesday on political unrest in Venezuela.

The board signed off on a resolution condemning the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for repressing protesters and urged the U.S. to take unspecified "diplomatic action."

While the measure is merely symbolic, it's good politics for county politicians who represent the largest population of Venezuelans outside their home country. The resolution's sponsor was Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, whose district includes the Venezuelan stronghold of Doral.

"We cannot stand by and see beauty queens and normal people killed on the streets," Diaz said from the dais before a gaggle of television cameras.

Over the past two weeks, several Miami-Dade meetings have begun with moments of silence for victims of the Venezuelan turmoil, which has left at least 18 people dead. Mayor Carlos Gimenez even mentioned the protests when he opened his annual State of the County speech.

Miami-Dade depends on international business and tourism, Commissioner Javier Souto said, so local politicians should have their say on foreign affairs. 

"We have tremendous responsibility with everything that happens in the Americas," he said.