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Rubio: “Do not allow lobbyists for the Venezuelan government to be able to come to Washington, D.C. and impede action on this matter.”

Washington, D.C. – During a wide-ranging U.S. Senate floor speech on Tuesday evening, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to schedule a vote on S. 2142, the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, a bill authorizing sanctions on individuals involved in serious human rights violations against peaceful demonstrators in Venezuela. The legislation is currently being blocked from being unanimously passed by the full U.S. Senate at the behest of Citgo, the Venezuelan regime’s wholly owned U.S. subsidiary.

In recent weeks, Rubio has published an opinion column in Louisiana’s The Daily Advertiser challenging U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s block of the bill, and urged Reid to hold a full Senate vote in a letter.

“In Latin America, we have seen an erosion of democratic order, the rise of anti-democratic governments that threaten to erode almost two decades of democratic progress in the region,” said Rubio. “By the way, in this body we have endeavored to address one of those challenges in Venezuela – an outrage, a place full of corruption and human rights violations, an anti-American government that does everything possible to undermine us and our interests, not just the interests of their own people.

“And we’ve been blocked in our efforts to address it because somehow the Venezuelan government, acting through Citgo, a wholly owned company of the Venezuelan government, got lobbyists to come here to the Senate and lobby for blockage and stoppage of a measure that we were ready to pass by unanimous consent,” Rubio added. “And so I come to the floor to ask the Majority Leader to please schedule a vote on these sanctions on Venezuela because it will pass overwhelmingly.

“Do not allow lobbyists for the Venezuelan government to be able to come to Washington, D.C. and impede action on this matter,” Rubio concluded.