Press Releases

Washington, D.C. –  As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), today urged Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to meet with South Florida’s Venezuelan community while on an official visit to the area next week.

In a letter to Secretary Lew, Rubio expressed concern over the ongoing human rights crisis plaguing Venezuela as a result of President Nicolás Maduro and his repressive regime, encouraging Lew to gain insight from Miami’s Venezuelan community considering the Treasury Department’s critical role in enforcing various sanctions on the nation’s regime and its enablers.

“During your trip, I strongly encourage you to meet with South Florida’s Venezuelan community to discuss what steps, if any, your department has taken or intends to pursue regarding financial sanctions against individuals committing or ordering gross human rights violations in Venezuela during the Maduro regime’s brutal repression of students and peaceful demonstrators,” wrote Rubio. “Since the Treasury Department would play a major role in ultimately enforcing banking and other financial sanctions on Venezuelan regime officials and enablers, it is imperative that you hear the invaluable perspective that exists in South Florida, where many regime supporters actually hold assets in American banks and through property holdings.

“It is critically important that you use this visit to Miami to better understand the nature of the crisis and the urgent need for U.S. sanctions and support for the Venezuelan people’s democratic aspirations,” added Rubio. “I hope we can work together in the coming weeks as the U.S. Senate moves to consider this much needed legislation. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my office if we can be of assistance in facilitating meetings with leaders in South Florida’s Venezuelan community.”

A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text of the letter is below:

March 14, 2014

The Honorable Jacob Lew
Secretary
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Lew,

I understand you will be visiting Miami on Wednesday, March 19.

During your trip, I strongly encourage you to meet with South Florida’s Venezuelan community to discuss what steps, if any, your department has taken or intends to pursue regarding financial sanctions against individuals committing or ordering gross human rights violations in Venezuela during the Maduro regime’s brutal repression of students and peaceful demonstrators.

Since the Treasury Department would play a major role in ultimately enforcing banking and other financial sanctions on Venezuelan regime officials and enablers, it is imperative that you hear the invaluable perspective that exists in South Florida, where many regime supporters actually hold assets in American banks and through property holdings.

As you know, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution on March 12 endorsing these measures and urging President Obama to immediately pursue them under existing authorities.

Additionally, on March 13, I joined Senators Robert Menendez, Bill Nelson and Mark Kirk in introducing the “Venezuela Defense Of Human Rights And Civil Society Act,” which would require the President to sanction Venezuelan regime officials and others responsible for the deadly and violent wave of repression against innocent Venezuelans.

It is critically important that you use this visit to Miami to better understand the nature of the crisis and the urgent need for U.S. sanctions and support for the Venezuelan people’s democratic aspirations.

I hope we can work together in the coming weeks as the U.S. Senate moves to consider this much needed legislation. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my office if we can be of assistance in facilitating meetings with leaders in South Florida’s Venezuelan community.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator