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Venezuela: Bi-partisan US Congress approves sanctions bill

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz | May 30th, 2014


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Venezuela: Bi-partisan US Congress approves sanctions bill

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed on Wednes­day HR4587, the Venezuela Human Rights and Democ­racy Pro­tec­tion Act, which will

impose tar­geted sanc­tions on indi­vid­u­als respon­si­ble for car­ry­ing out or order­ing human rights abuses against the cit­i­zens of Venezuela

The pur­pose of the bill is to deny visas to enter the United States, block prop­erty, freeze assets, and pro­hibit finan­cial trans­ac­tions to mem­bers of the Venezue­lan régime who are respon­si­ble for the com­mis­sion of seri­ous human rights abuses against the cit­i­zens of Venezuela.

At my blog I have posted about how the amount of oil rev­enues spent in the U.S. by highly-​placed chav­ista is in the hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, while the coun­try sinks into abject poverty.

(If you are flu­ent in Span­ish, I rec­om­mend Casto Ocando’s book, Chav­is­tas en el Impe­rio: Secre­tos, Tác­ti­cas y Escán­da­los de la Rev­olu­ción Boli­var­i­ana en Esta­dos Unidos, a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion on the subject.)

The bipar­ti­san bill, spon­sored by Ileana Ros-​Lehtinen (R-​FL), was co-​sponsored by Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus mem­bers Democ­rats Cor­rine Brown, Fred­er­ica Wil­son, and Alcee Hast­ings, along with Mario Diaz-​Balart (R-​FL), Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz (D-​FL), Ted Deutch (D-​FL), Joe Gar­cia (D-​FL), Matt Salmon (R-​AZ), Albio Sires (D-​NJ), Patrick Mur­phy (D-​FL), Steve Stock­man (R-​TX), Ron DeSan­tis (R-​FL), Michael McCaul (R-​TX), Michael Grimm (R-​NY), Alan Grayson (D-​FL), Gus Bili­rakis (R-​FL), Christo­pher Smith (R-​FL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-​CA), Jeff Dun­can (R-​SC), Ted Poe (R-​TX), Ted Yoho (R-​FL), and Sean Duffy (R-​WI).

Four­teen mem­bers of Con­gress had writ­ten a let­ter to Pres. Obama against Venezuela sanc­tions; they are Rep­re­sen­ta­tives John Cony­ers, Henry “Hank” John­son, Karen Bass, Bar­bara Lee, Raul Gri­jalva, James McGov­ern, Sam Farr, Chel­lie Pin­gree, Keith Elli­son, Jan Schakowsky, Emmanuerl Cleaver, Jose Ser­rano, Michael Capuano, and Peter Welch.

Pas­sage of the bill

raises pres­sure on the Obama admin­is­tra­tion, which has been wary of pass­ing any kind of sanc­tions for fear it could cre­ate a back­lash by allow­ing Mr. Maduro to mobi­lize sup­port­ers against the U.S. and dis­tract from Venezuela’s grow­ing home­made trou­bles. The admin­is­tra­tion also fears that the sanc­tions could jeop­ar­dize attempts at reach­ing a nego­ti­ated solu­tion between the gov­ern­ment and the opposition.

What nego­ti­ated solu­tion? The so-​called “nego­ti­a­tions” fell apart already.

Rus­sia opposes the sanc­tions. Venezue­lan dic­ta­tor Nico­las Maduro wasted no time and accused the U.S. ambas­sador to Colom­bia of plot­ting to desta­bi­lize Venezuela.

Yleem D.S. Poblete posits that, in addi­tion to the human rights vio­la­tions,

For the sake of U.S. national secu­rity inter­ests, the United States needs to act swiftly and res­olutely to hold the Chavez-​Maduro appa­ra­tus accountable.

A sim­i­lar bill was approved by a Sen­ate com­mit­tee, and is now headed for a vote on the Sen­ate floor.

Video report here:

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics at Fausta’s Blog.

The House of Representatives passed on Wednesday HR4587, the Venezuela Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act, which will

impose targeted sanctions on individuals responsible for carrying out or ordering human rights abuses against the citizens of Venezuela

The purpose of the bill is to deny visas to enter the United States, block property, freeze assets, and prohibit financial transactions to members of the Venezuelan regime who are responsible for the commission of serious human rights abuses against the citizens of Venezuela.

At my blog I have posted about how the amount of oil revenues spent in the U.S. by highly-placed chavista is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, while the country sinks into abject poverty.

(If you are fluent in Spanish, I recommend Casto Ocando’s book, Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos, a thorough investigation on the subject.)

The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), was co-sponsored by Congressional Black Caucus members Democrats Corrine Brown, Frederica Wilson, and Alcee Hastings, along with Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Joe Garcia (D-FL), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Christopher Smith (R-FL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Ted Poe (R-TX), Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Sean Duffy (R-WI).

Fourteen members of Congress had written a letter to Pres. Obama against Venezuela sanctions; they are Representatives John Conyers, Henry “Hank” Johnson, Karen Bass, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, James McGovern, Sam Farr, Chellie Pingree, Keith Ellison, Jan Schakowsky, Emmanuerl Cleaver, Jose Serrano, Michael Capuano, and Peter Welch.

Passage of the bill

raises pressure on the Obama administration, which has been wary of passing any kind of sanctions for fear it could create a backlash by allowing Mr. Maduro to mobilize supporters against the U.S. and distract from Venezuela’s growing homemade troubles. The administration also fears that the sanctions could jeopardize attempts at reaching a negotiated solution between the government and the opposition.

What negotiated solution? The so-called “negotiations” fell apart already.

Russia opposes the sanctions. Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro wasted no time and accused the U.S. ambassador to Colombia of plotting to destabilize Venezuela.

Yleem D.S. Poblete posits that, in addition to the human rights violations,

For the sake of U.S. national security interests, the United States needs to act swiftly and resolutely to hold the Chavez-Maduro apparatus accountable.

A similar bill was approved by a Senate committee, and is now headed for a vote on the Senate floor.

Video report here:

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics at Fausta’s Blog.

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