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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Local leaders Casas, Marin decry Venezuelan government

Rep. David Casas, R-Lilburn

Rep. David Casas, R-Lilburn

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Rep. Pedro Marin, D-Duluth

Georgia’s two Hispanic legislators — both of whom represent Gwinnett — sit on opposite sides of the political divide.

But the two stood together last week to publicly condemn the Venezuelan government’s actions aginst journalists and protesters.

State Reps. David Casas, R-Lilburn, and Pedro Marin, D-Duluth, held a press conference Thursday at the state Capitol to discuss the situation.

“Venezuelan leaders are using violence and fear to silence opposition and suppress free speech,” said Marin, a native of Puerto Rico. “These actions are detestable. I urge the Venezuelan government to respect its citizens’ basic human rights.”

Earlier this month, the state House passed a resolution introduced by the pair calling on the Venezuelan government respect the rights of its citizens to peacefully assemble and express their concerns.

“Representative government and government by the consent of the governed is in jeopardy in Venezuela,” said Rep. Casas, who is Cuban. “We urge Venezuelan leaders not to follow the path of Cuba but to pursue liberty and justice.”

According to reports from human rights organizations, Venezuelan security forces are using excessive force against unarmed protesters. At least 20 people have died as a result of the actions, a press release said, adding that journalists have been detained and assaulted for reporting on the protests.

Korean resolution approved

The General Assembly voted this month to encourage more Korean business investment in Georgia, approving a resolution sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, whose Duluth district includes a growing Korean business community.

“Both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly have shown they fully support and appreciate the Korean businesses who have invested in our state by approving Senate Resolution 941,” Shafer said of the measure, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 162 to 8 last week, after getting nearly unanimous support in the Senate earlier this month. “Korean businesses have invested millions of dollars in Georgia, opening 51 facilities that employ over 50,000 Georgians of all ethnic origins.”

The resolution, which now awaits the governor’s signature, urges the U.S. Congress to expand economic investment by increasing the number of visas designed to permit Korean citizens possessing skills in a specialty occupation, a press release said. It also recognizes the importance of the U.S.–Korea Free Trade Agreement of 2012, increasing opportunities for U.S. exporters to sell goods and services to Korean customers.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.