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